In a historic ruling made by a South Korean court on January 8, 2021, it awarded 100 million won or around US$90,000 damages to each 12 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are a group of former 12 Korean “comfort women” who were employed as sex workers in brothels during the Japanese occupation that spans from 1910 until 1945.
The Seoul Central District Court also issued the compensation order accompanied by a provisional execution which means that any assets of the Japanese government in South Korea may be seized in order to satisfy the awarded damages.
However, the Japanese government is adamant in its position that it has state immunity and may not be sued in a Korean court. The principle of state immunity under the international law provides that a state is immune from jurisdiction of a foreign country and it is protected from being sued in a foreign court.
But this argument by the Japanese government was not given merit by Seoul Central District Court and reiterated in its ruling that state immunity may not be applied in the case at bar since the Japanese government during the colonization “violated international norms by committing intentional, systematic and wide-ranging inhumane criminal acts.”
We will update our readers for new development of this case. And if you wish to speak to a Korean lawyer with regard to any legal concerns in South Korea: Please Schedule a Call.
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