South Korea’s ageing victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery said Tuesday they would file a $20 million lawsuit next month at a US court to seek financial compensation from Tokyo.
The suit from 10 “comfort” women led by Kim Bok-Dong, 89, will be lodged at a California district court on July 1 against Japan, their attorney Kim Hyung-Jin told reporters.
The case, which is now being pursued in the US as previous suits in Japan have failed, also targets Mitsubishi and other companies allegedly involved in war crimes.
Originally a dozen women who were forced to serve Japanese soldiers during World War II had offered to join the legal battle, but two have since died.
“The Japanese government should offer an official and sincere apology for wrongdoings by their ancestors and restore our honour,” Kim Bok-Dong told a press conference outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
Mainstream historians say up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea but also from China, Indonesia and other Asian nations, were forced into sexual slavery during the war.
Japan insists the issue was settled in the 1965 normalisation agreement, which saw Tokyo make a total payment of $800 million in grants or loans to its former colony.
South Korea says Tokyo does not fully accept its guilt and has not sufficiently atoned.
The issue, which has remained in the background of diplomatic relations for the last few decades, has blistered to the fore since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye came to power.
Park and Abe, however, gave a warmer impression in separate speeches on Monday as they marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Park has previously maintained there can be no meeting with Abe until Japan makes amends for its “comfort women” system.
But in a recent interview with the Washington Post, she said: “There has been considerable progress on the issue of the comfort women”, adding that the two countries were “in the final stage” of negotiations.
WATCH: Trump whines to Turkish president he only takes questions from ‘friendly reporters’
In a press conference Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, President Donald Trump openly reminded that he only takes questions from people on his side.
"Would you like to pick somebody?" Trump asked Erdo?an after taking a question from the far-right OANN. "A friendly person from Turkey, please. Friendly. Only friendly reporters. There aren’t too many of them around."
Trump has increasingly refused to take questions from reporters who ask him actual questions that he both knows the answer to and will make him look good.
The White House hasn't hosted a "daily press briefing" for 247 days and not at all under the new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. She has, however, had time to appear on Fox News multiple times to speak for the White House.
Fox legal analyst: Today was a good day for anyone who wants to shorten the Trump presidency
As the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump wrapped up this Wednesday, former assistant US attorney and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy said that he originally expected Republicans' "best pitch" to be that the Democrats' impeachment inquiry hasn't demonstrated anything impeachable.
"Instead what they've tried to do is go at this by saying, 'Nothing bad happened, it was perfect,'" McCarthy said, adding that the latter tactic will open them up to an "itemization of a number of irregularities that happened and a lot of very admirable and articulate government witnesses getting on the witness stand to say, 'This shouldn't have happened, that shouldn't have happened, this is a departure from American interests, a departure from American norms.'"
George Conway blows apart Republicans’ ‘illogical and incoherent’ defense’ of Trump
Republican Washington lawyer George Conway found the GOP's attempts to defend President Donald Trump to be "illogical and incoherent."
The spouse of Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to the president, explained that the witnesses were clearly non-partisan professionals only willing to talk about the facts.
"And the facts are quite damning. And the defenses that were put up by the Republicans were fundamentally illogical and incoherent," Conway told MSNBC. "I mean, one defense was, 'Hey, they actually got the money. The Ukrainians got the money and Zelensky didn’t make a statement. But the fact of the matter is, it was the ask that was illegal."