SONG Shin-do

SONG Shin-do

verstarb am 20.12.2017
A Korean woman who was forced to work at a Japanese wartime military brothel and later lost a Supreme Court case seeking compensation from the Japanese government has died in Japan at the age of 95, a civic group said on Tuesday.

Source:   Memory of reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific

Comfort Women: Japan
Song Shin-do
Filed: April 3, 1993

Song Shin-do, a native of South Korea's South Chungchong Province, filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court against the Japanese government on April 3, 1993 seeking an official apology and ¥120 million (US$1 million) in compensation. Song, a resident of Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, is the only Korean resident of Japan to bring a lawsuit as a comfort woman.

Song testified in court that the Japanese army tricked her into accompanying soldiers to China in 1938, where she was forced into prostitution, at the age of 16, to serve Japanese troops until the end of the war in 1945. She alleged that when she refused to have sex with a Japanese soldier, he cut her back with his Japanese sword. She also claimed that she was a virgin at the time and was forced to provide sex for up to 80 soldiers a day at one peak period.

On October 1, 1999, the Tokyo District Court's decision dismissed Song’s claims (Japanese text of the court's decision). Presiding Judge Kitaru Narita told Song that individuals had no right to seek damages for what a nation did to them under current international law. The judges admitted the facts as presented by Song that she was taken from her home in South Chungchong Province to Wuchang, Hubei Province in China, by the Imperial Japanese Army as a sex slave in 1938. The court ruled that Song had to have sex with up to 70 soldiers a day and she was beaten at a number of brothels in China set up by the army during the seven years until the war ended in 1945. Judge Narita stated that it was possible to share the agony she suffered at that time when considering people's feeling who were forced to be comfort women. The court ruled that Song's suffering could not be covered by the State Redress Law as she demanded since the law took effect in 1947 and thus did not cover what happened before that date.

Song appealed to the Tokyo High Court on October 7, 1999. On November 30, 2000 the Tokyo High Court dismissed the appeal (Japanese text of the court's dismissal) The Tokyo High Court acknowledged Japan's legal responsibility for Song's suffering had she sued years earlier.

Song appealed to Japan’s Supreme Court on December 12, 2000. The Supreme Court's ruling, rather than a decision, dismissed Song’s appeal on March 28, 2003. The ruling was based on breach of Constitution. The Supreme Court decided that Japan had no legal obligation to pay Song for the suffering she endured from her seven-year forced sexual slavery because the 20-year statute of limitations for such a claim had expired. This ended her judicial avenue for redress.

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Song Sin-do (Korean: 송신도; November 24, 1922 – December 16, 2017) was a Korean former comfort woman who had been living and campaigning in Japan for an official apology from the Japanese government. She had also recognised the need for the history of comfort women to be taught in Japanese schools to prevent a recurrence of the situation. ....