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The Tokyo District Court has ordered Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. to pay about ¥50 million in compensation to 12 former and current female employees it sexually discriminated against by paying them lower wages than male employees.

The plaintiffs had sought payment of some ¥550 million as compensation for the wage differences with their male colleagues.

Presiding Judge Hiroshi Watanabe ruled Monday that the company sexually discriminated among its employees in terms of wages and promotions in 1993.

“It is unjust (for the court) not to order the elimination of the wage differences while admitting the existence of discrimination at the same time,” Yasuko Yunoki, a 61-year-old plaintiff, said after the ruling, indicating an appeal may be lodged.

The male-dominated system continued even after a new personnel system was adopted in 2000 to prioritize workers’ abilities and achievements rather than their gender, the court said.

The court turned down the plaintiffs’ request for compensation to make up for the wage gaps because the period of eligibility to reclaim some of the wages has expired, and because it was difficult to evaluate the amount of money each person was due under the new system, even if the period of eligibility had not expired.

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