The Tokyo District Court said Thursday it had no choice in rejecting a lawsuit filed by wartime sex slaves, but it issued strong words to the government to settle the issue.

Presiding Judge Takaomi Takizawa rejected the suit filed by seven Chinese women and the families of three deceased women who were repeatedly raped by Japanese soldiers during World War II. He backed the government’s argument that there was no law at the time requiring it to pay compensation and that the plaintiffs’ right to claim damages under the Civil Code expired 20 years after the rapes occurred.

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