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Wartime Sex Slaves Lose Appeal

A Japanese court has rejected compensation appeals by 10 Chinese women forced into sexual slavery during Japan's occupation of China.

The women, from north China's Shanxi Province, originally filed their suit in 1998, seeking 20 million yen (US$167,600) compensation for their suffering.

In its verdict on Saturday, Japan's Higher Court rejected the appeal as a 20-year statute of limitations on such cases has expired.

The appeal was also turned down on the grounds that individuals cannot file suits against a country.

However, the court did acknowledge the brutality of the treatment towards the women and accepted they had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the ordeal.

Representing the women, Zhang Shuangbin was disappointed by the verdict.

"It's unfair that these women who suffered so much when they were young cannot be compensated," Zhang said.

According to Zhang, the women are also seeking "official apologies" from the Japanese Government for their treatment.

The women will present a further suit to Japan's Supreme Court in a final attempt to win a favourable ruling for compensation and apology, Zhang said.

In March this year Japan's Supreme Court rejected compensation appeals from Guo Xicui and Hou Qiaolian, who were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers during the country's occupation of China.

They also came from Shanxi Province.

At the time, Guo was 15 and Hou was just 13.

Research suggests that at least 200,000 Chinese women were forced to become sex slaves during Japan's occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and '40s.

During World War II, the Japanese military also forced women from Korea, the Philippines, the Netherlands and other nations into sexual slavery.

(China Daily November 22, 2005)

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