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The Supreme Court on Monday upheld lower court rulings that dismissed claims made by former Koreans imprisoned for war crimes after World War II and a relative of a Korean member executed after the war.
The former members of the Imperial Japanese Army were tried by the Allied powers and classified as class B and C war criminals.
They are seeking a total of 14 million yen in compensation from the government for their suffering after the war.
In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Motoo Ono expressed sympathy to the plaintiffs, suggesting that the government should enact a law to redress those victims.
During the war, the Koreans were treated as Japanese under Japan’s assimilation policy, which forced those in Japan’s colonies to become subjects of the Japanese empire.
They were made ineligible to receive compensation under Tokyo’s relief measures for veterans and civilian workers of the Japanese military once they were stripped of their Japanese nationality following the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty.
The group’s lawyers had argued that the plaintiffs should be entitled to redress based on “common sense.”
But the court said they cannot be compensated without the backing of relevant laws.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were drafted to the war to keep a watch on prisoners of war of the allied nation at a construction site in Thailand. After the war, martial courts convicted them for ill-treating the POWs.

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