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Japan court denies compensation for Korean wartime forced workers

[JURIST] A Tokyo High Court judge on Wednesday refused to overturn a lower court decision that denied compensation for unpaid wages for a group of South Koreans who were forced to work at a Japanese steel mill during WWII. Relatives of the forced laborers had asked that the Japanese government be ordered to pay 20 million yen ($166,600) in compensation but a court ruled in 2004 that the property claims were nullified under the 1965 Japan-South Korea normalization treaty. The government successfully argued that any wartime compensation claims by South Korea were covered by the 1965 treaty, under which Japan was required to provide $500 million in economic aid to South Korea. The result is in line with most Japanese rulings on the subject, but comes at a time when Japanese relations with South Korea and neighboring China are strained. Since taking office in 2001, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile] has made regular visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine [JURIST report], which honors the country's war dead, including war criminals. South Korea and China consider the shrine a monument to Japanese militarism during the early 20th century. Reuters has more.

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