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Japan court rules against 'sex slaves'
Latest Updated by 2006-09-01 11:14:03
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A Japanese court yesterday rejected the demands of eight Chinese women and their relatives for an apology and compensation for their wartime treatment. The women were forced to be "comfort women," or sex slaves, for invading Japanese troops.

Chen Yabian, 79, one of the surviving "comfort women" from South China's Hainan Province, appeared at the Tokyo District Court.

The group filed the lawsuit in 1996 and demanded the Japanese Government apologize and pay them 23 million yen (US$220,000) each in compensation.

The ruling admitted the Japanese troops in World War II forcibly took, confined, beat and raped the women, but failed to identify the crime. The women were around 15 years old then, according to Chinese lawyer Kang Jian.

Kang began to help Chinese victims in World War II seek justice and demand compensation from the Japanese Government and related parties in 1995.

Since 1995, four cases of Chinese women suing the Japanese Government for wartime atrocities by Japanese troops have been brought to Japanese courts, but all of them have ended in failure.

Japanese courts denied the women their compensation on the grounds that the 20-year period for demanding compensation has expired, citing a rule stipulating that the current government cannot be held responsible for any acts by the state under the former Constitution of the Empire of Japan.

"The victims' claim is not a matter of demanding compensation, but is related to how the Japanese Government treats history," said Yu Ning, director of the All-China Association of Lawyers at a news conference in Beijing yesterday.

According to Yu, his association and the China Foundation for Legal Aid will set up a special committee to search for historical data, surviving wartime "comfort women" and "comfort houses" that the Japanese army built across China, to collect proof of the acts committed by Japanese troops.

Last year, Shanghai-based historian Su Zhiliang found, after 13 years' study, that Shanghai had 149 "comfort women houses", a Japanese paraphrase for brothels where women were obliged to serve as sex slaves for Japan's invading soldiers.

Historians say Japanese troops forced up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, Filipinos, Chinese and Dutch, into sex slavery during World War II.

"As the number of living victims dwindles year-on-year, we hope the Japanese Government can face the truth as soon as possible," Kang said.
Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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