SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean court on Friday ordered Japan to financially compensate 12 South Korean women forced to work as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II, the first such ruling expected to rekindle animosities between the Asian neighbors.
Japan immediately protested the ruling, maintaining that all wartime compensation issues were resolved under a 1965 treaty that normalized their ties.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled the Japanese government must give $91,360 each to the 12 women who filed the lawsuits in 2013 for their wartime sexual slavery.
The court said Japan’s mobilization of these women as sexual slaves were “a crime against humanity.” It said that the mobilization happened when Japan “illegally occupied” the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45 so that its sovereign immunity cannot shield it from lawsuits in South Korea.
The court said the women were the victims of “harsh sexual activities” by Japanese troops, which caused bodily harm, venereal diseases and