South Korean survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings were denied state compensations by a court on Friday, local Yonhap News Agency reported. The survivors of the 1945 disaster had been reportedly denied reparations from Japan earlier, following which they filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the South Korean government.
Nearly 80 survivors, representing 2,600 others, were seeking about $9,000 each from the South Korean government over its failure to check with the Japanese government that the survivors could receive compensation. The lawsuit was filed in 2013 and claimed that the central government was negligent about the rights of its citizens. The Seoul Central District Court said Friday that Japan's unresponsiveness was not the fault of the South Korean government and thus it was not obligated to compensate the victims.
"There are many issues that need to be resolved between South Korea and Japan diplomatically, including Japan's wartime sex slavery and its forced recruitment of Korean people for labor during World War II," Judge Yun Kang-yeol said, according to Yonhap. "Just because Japan hasn't responded to South Korea's calls for negotiation doesn't mean South Korea bears all the responsibility to take the next course of action."
The victims reportedly said that Friday’s ruling contradicted a 2011 ruling by the country's Constitutional Court that called South Korea's lack of diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue "unconstitutional."
"South Korea is ignoring us helpless victims who were forcibly conscripted or drafted for labor by the Japanese and were hit by atomic bombs," Seong Nak-gu, head of the victims' coalition, reportedly said.