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Japan Supreme Court denies compensation to Chinese 'comfort women'

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Japan [official website, English version] affirmed a Tokyo High Court decision Friday denying government compensation to two Chinese women who were forced to work as "comfort women" [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive], because the 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China [text] renounced Chinese claims for war reparations from Japan. The court also overturned a lower court ruling awarding compensation to Chinese comfort women, who were forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels during World War II.

Last Friday, the Japanese government accepted the formal rulings [JURIST report] of a 1948 war crimes tribunal that found Japanese soldiers had coerced women into prostitution. In March, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] denied allegations of forced sexual slavery [JURIST report] in Imperial Japanese Army brothels, stating instead that the women were professional prostitutes paid for their services. Abe later issued a guarded apology [JURIST report] to comfort women following public outcry, but stopped short of explicitly acknowledging the role played by the military and the government in facilitating the practice. AP has more.

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