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The BBC's Charles Scanlon in Tokyo
"It was a bitter end to a high profile legal battle"
 real 56k

Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 14:43 GMT
Sex slave loses compensation bid
Miss Song
Miss Song: Forced into a Japanese army brothel
Charles Scanlon reports from Tokyo

A Korean woman forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in the 1930s has lost her court battle for compensation.

Comfort women protest
Most claims for compensation have failed
The Tokyo High Court turned down the appeal, which had previously been rejected by a lower court.

The woman, who lives in Japan, began her quest for an apology and compensation from the Japanese Government seven years ago.

It was a bitter end to a high profile legal battle that challenged Japan's refusal to compensate former sex slaves of the imperial army.

Disappointed

Song Shin-do, now 78 years old, was one of about 200,000 Asian women conscripted into brothels by Japanese troops in the nineteen-thirties and forties.

She said she was bitterly disappointed by the court's rejection of her case.

Miss Song
Miss Song: A sex slave from 16
"I didn't expect such a decision," said Miss Song. "I have fought for seven, eight years. And it's all meaningless. I am an old woman. What can I do now?"

Miss Song had been demanding a public apology from the government and $100,000 in compensation.

The judge acknowledged that she had suffered at the hands of the military but he said the statute of limitations on the government's legal responsibility had expired.

Raped

Miss Song was 16 when she was taken from her home in Korea and forced into a Japanese army brothel in China.

For the next seven years she says she was repeatedly raped by Japanese troops.

She is one of a small number of former comfort women, as they were known by the Japanese troops, who came forward with their stories in the early 1990s.

The Japanese Government initially rejected their allegations but later admitted the military authorities had systematically forced large numbers of Asian women into brothels.

It helped set up a private fund to help the women but it says all official compensation claims were settled in the bilateral peace treaties it signed in the years after the Second World War.

Most Japanese courts have so far backed its stance.

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See also:

29 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Nanjing survivor sues Japanese authors
29 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan war slaves get $4.6m
23 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
PoWs fight Japan firms in US courts
22 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Japan rules out war compensation
29 Mar 98 | Despatches
Korean comfort women compensated
27 Apr 98 | Asia-Pacific
Wartime 'sex slaves' get compensation
15 Dec 97 | Despatches
Nanjing massacre film released
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