A South Korean district court on Monday dismissed a wartime labor compensation lawsuit brought by a group of Koreans against 16 Japanese companies including Nippon Steel Corp. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp.

The Seoul Central District Court said that while the plaintiffs have not lost their right to claims as individuals under a 1965 bilateral accord under which Japan provided grants and loans to South Korea, such a right cannot be exercised through lawsuits.

South Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 had ordered Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for forced labor during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.