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Friday, 8 December, 2000, 05:12 GMT
Sex slavery "on trial" in Tokyo

Women's groups and human rights activists are staging a mock trial in Tokyo to draw attention to Japan's sexual enslavement of women during the Second World War.

An international panel of jurists will hear testimony from seventy-eight of the so-called comfort women during five days of hearings.

Two hundred thousand Asian women are believed to have been forced into Japanese military brothels during the war.

The Japanese authorities have always refused to accept legal responsibility or pay compensation.

The hearings come just days after Japanese courts rejected appeals for compensation by some victims.

But the organisers say they expect a more sympathetic reaction from the Japanese public and they're hoping that the tribunal will give the survivors a sense that some justice is being done.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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