On Friday, the suit filed in a South Korean court by twelve former Korean comfort women was rejected. The women were seeking damages for approximately $91,000 each for a total of 100 million. These damages were filed against the government regarding the controversial agreement made with Japan. The suit was filed in 2016 with the Seoul District Court. The women made demands against the government for compensation for the financial and mental damages they claimed were sustained due to the agreement of 2015. This agreement stated the issues of the women forced during the war to work in the military brothels in Japan was settled finally and irreversibly.
The ruling of the court acknowledged clarity was lacking in the agreement regarding numerous points. Despite this, the conclusion was when the process of reaching diplomatic negotiations and a bilateral consensus were considered, there were no illegal activities conducted by the government. The attorney for the plaintiffs believes the recent ruling from the court has provided legality for the 2015 decision of the government. He does not feel this is understandable and is planning to appeal.
The agreement of 2015 was criticized by the women. Their beliefs are it is not in line with the ruling of 2011 made by the Constitutional Court of South Korea. This ruling stated it was not constitutional for no tangible efforts to be made by the government to settle issues with Japan regarding their refusal to provide compensation for these women. The suit for the plaintiffs was filed with the Korean Council civic group focused on the sexual slavery in Japan and in opposition to the agreement.
According to the agreement of 2015, an apology was made to the former comfort women and Japan expressed remorse for their suffering. Japan additionally provided a South Korean foundation with $8.8 million to provide support for the surviving victims. There has been a lot of controversy regarding the deal among the South Korean public and the victims. The critics have stated the voices of the victims were ignored and the fresh apology from Japan was not adequate.
The actual definition of comfort women are the girls and women who were forced by the Imperial Japanese Army into sexual slavery prior to and during World War II in the occupied territories. The name was derived from a Japanese ianfu which is a euphemism for prostitute. The number of women involved remains uncertain and may be as low as 20,000 or as high as 410,000. Research regarding these numbers is still taking place and there have been many debates. The majority of these women came from occupied countries including China, Korea and the Philippines. Women were brought to the military comfort stations from Thailand, the Dutch East Indies, Vietnam, Portuguese Timor, Burma, Taiwan which was a Japanese dependency at the time, Malaya and other territories occupied by the Japanese.
The comfort stations were located in China, Japan, Malaya, the Philippines, Burma, Indonesia, French Indochina, Burma, Macau, Thailand, Hong Kong and New Guinea. A much smaller group of women were involved with European origins from Australia and the Netherlands. The estimate is there were between 200 and 400 Dutch women involved. The testimonies of the young women stated they were abducted from their homes. The imperial Japanese ruled these countries at this time. Work in restaurants, factories and higher education were used to lure many of these women. Once they were successfully recruited, they were sent to comfort stations.