The Tokyo High Court on Monday upheld a lower court decision that dismissed a claim from a South Korean man demanding that the government give him a pension because he fought for Japan during the war. Kim Song Su, 75, who lives in Pusan, South Korea, said that although he lost an arm fighting in Burma, the Japanese government has not granted him a wounded veteran’s pension because of a nationality clause in the pension law. According to the clause, only Japanese are entitled to the pension.Presiding Judge Eiko Ito said the nationality clause is in line with the Constitution, pointing out that the plaintiff did not have the right to sue the nation without the backing of a relevant law. Kim’s lawyers criticized the ruling because it did not mention that the government should enact a law to provide such compensation, as the lower court decision stated. They plan to appeal the decision. Kim later told the media that Monday’s ruling was more painful than the first, but added that he did not expect much from the Supreme Court, either. He also said he hopes to bring the matter before the United Nations and put Japan to shame. The plaintiff’s lawyers had argued that the nationality clause in the pension law violates the Constitution, which promises equality under law, as well as the International Covenants on Human Rights. Under the pension law, individuals who lost Japanese citizenship are disqualified from pensions. They include Koreans who were considered Japanese during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945, but were stripped of their Japanese nationality under the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty. Kim, who began a movement in the 1970s to seek compensation from the Japanese government, is also appealing a ruling by the Tokyo District Court in June 1998 which dismissed his compensation suit against the Japanese government over its refusal to grant him a war pension.
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