Former Korean ‘comfort woman’ prepares lawsuit against Japan in US court

June 19, 2015

A South Korean comfort woman is preparing to file a lawsuit against the Japanese government, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and about 10 Japanese corporations, including Mitsubishi and Sankei Shimbun, for a sum of $20 million in the California federal court.

Yoo Hee-nam, 88, is expected to file the suit at the end of June or in early July, according to diplomatic sources.

Her attorneys said filing the suit in the U.S. will draw more attention from Japan, which cares more strongly about its image in America than in Korea.

The suit will focus on the harm done to comfort women by Japanese soldiers during World War II, as well as further damages that Yoo says have continued to present day as a result of Japan’s refusal to acknowledge its history.

The sexual slavery of young women from several countries during the war, most prominently from Korea, by Japanese soldiers is an issue that has added to the plague over Korea-Japan relations for decades. Abe’s refusal to issue an apology sparked protests across the U.S. earlier this year during his visit.

In 2000, 15 Korean and Filipino former comfort women filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The case was dismissed.

About 50 former comfort women are stil alive. Yoo is a part of a community of nine former comfort women who live together in Kyeonggi Province, South Korea.

One Comment

  1. Chiu Kok-cheung

    June 22, 2015 at 1:31 AM

    Do you think the Korean government should help this pitiable former victim of Japanese war crimes line up the other victims in Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines to file a joint suit?