A South Korean court's ruling that ordered Japan to compensate 16 "comfort women," a euphemism for those who suffered under Japan’s military brothel system before and during World War II, has been "finalized" as Tokyo did not appeal, Seoul's foreign ministry said Saturday.

Mainstream historians say that before and during World War II, up to 200,000 women — mostly from Korea, but also other parts of Asia including China — were forced or coerced into sexual servitude under various circumstances, including abduction, deception and poverty.

The issue, one of the countries' most contentious historical disputes stemming from Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, has long plagued bilateral ties between the two neighbors.