“Comfort Women” Have No Legal Recourse

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy, Jr. dismissed a federal lawsuit filed against Japan for war crimes involving the conscription of up to 200,000 Asian women from Korea, China, Taiwan, and the Philippines to be sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Citing the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and other international treaties, Kennedy determined that Japan cannot be tried in U.S courts. The plaintiffs, 15 former sex slaves known euphemistically as “comfort women,” had also unsuccessfully sued for reparations in Japan.

During their testimony, the women described how they were “repeatedly raped, tortured, beaten, mutilated and sometimes murdered.” While Kennedy criticized the treatment of comfort women, he ultimately agreed with the Japanese government and the U.S. Department of Justice claiming that justice would have to be sought through diplomatic means and not the legal system. The women are expected to appeal the decision.


LA Times, 10/5/01; Washington Post, 10/5/01

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