S. Korea court dismisses 'comfort women' lawsuit

Lee Yong-soo came out of a South Korean court disappointed on Wednesday (April 21).

She is one of the surviving "comfort women" who raised a lawsuit against Japan for the sexual abuse they endured when forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels.

The court upheld Japan's state immunity and dismissed the women's lawsuit, contradicting a ruling in a separate earlier case that ordered Tokyo to compensate victims.

"It is very, very absurd. It's nonsense. Anyway, if the result is good or not, we will seek international litigation over the case. We must go. That's all I can say."

Many surviving "comfort women" - a Japanese euphemism for the sex abuse victims - are demanding Tokyo's formal apology and compensation.

Remnants of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula remain contentious from both sides.

In January, diplomatic tension flared between the two countries, after another judge ruled in favor of other women in a separate case, ordering Japan to pay compensation for the first time.

The verdict had drawn rebuke from Tokyo, which says that the issue was settled under a 1965 treaty and a 2015 deal.

Under the deal, Tokyo issued an official apology and provided $9.3 million to a fund to help comfort women victims, with both sides promising to "irreversibly" end the dispute.

But some victims, including Lee, had rejected the settlement saying the government did not sufficiently consult them during the negotiations.

Video Transcript

- Lee Yong-soo came out of a South Korean court disappointed on Wednesday. She is one of the surviving comfort women who raised a lawsuit against Japan for the sexual abuse they endured when forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels. The court upheld Japan's state immunity and dismissed the women's lawsuit, contradicting a ruling in a separate earlier case that ordered Tokyo to compensate victims.

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- It is very, very absurd. It's nonsense. Anyway, whether the result is good or not, we will seek international litigation over the case.

[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- We must go. That's all I can say.

- Many surviving comfort women, a Japanese euphemism for the sexual abuse victims, are demanding Tokyo's formal apology and compensation. Remnants of Japan's 1910 to 1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula remain contentious from both sides. In January, diplomatic tension flared between the two countries after another judge ruled in favor of other women in a separate case, ordering Japan to pay compensation for the first time. The verdict had drawn rebuke from Tokyo which says that the issue was settled under a 1965 treaty and a 2015 deal. Under the deal, Tokyo issued an official apology and provided $9.3 million US to a fund to help comfort women victims, with both sides promising to irreversibly end the dispute. But some victims, including Lee, had rejected the settlement saying the government did not sufficiently consult them during the negotiations.