A Japanese court Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of Chinese women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The court's presiding judge Takaomi Takizawa rejected the plaintiffs' demands for compensation and a formal apology from the Japanese government, said Tokyo District Court spokesman Hideyuki Ito.
The lawsuit had sought 20 million yen (US$167,000) each in damages for 10 women from Shanxi Province who were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers posted in China during the war, according to Ito.
Kyodo news service said the court ruled the plaintiffs' right to seek damages had expired with the 20-year statute of limitations for such claims. It also said there was no law at the time requiring the Japanese government to compensate for such wartime incidents.
The women, who were then in their teens and 20s, were assaulted during a four-year period beginning in 1940. The brutality left the women with post-traumatic stress disorder and some were unable to bear children, Kyodo said.
Japan's military seized thousands of Chinese, Korean and women of other nationalities during World War II and shipped them across Asia to provide sex for their troops.
Historians say around 200,000 women were forced into sexual slavery.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2003)