SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — A local court’s order for Japan to disclose its state assets in South Korea to pay compensation to Korean victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery was aborted due to Tokyo’s refusal to comply, judicial sources said Friday.
The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday dismissed the case pertaining to the asset disclosure, because the court had not been able to deliver the order to the Japanese government, or to make it appear in court.
In June and September, the same court ordered Tokyo to submit a full list of its assets in South Korea by March 21, as part of efforts to secure reparations for 12 “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese front-line brothels during World War II.
The court’s decision came in response to the January ruling in which the Japanese government was ordered to pay 100 million won (US$89,500) in reparations to each of the 12 plaintiffs for their sufferings.
The Japanese government, however, refused to comply with the court’s order, arguing it is immune from all civil suits in foreign courts based on sovereign immunity.
It also insisted that all claims related to its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were settled under a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties.
But victims can still proceed with their legal fight by asking a court to check Korean assets owned by the Japanese government. Once a court receives such request, it can make inquires through the system of public or financial institutions.