The South Korean “hibakusha” or survivors of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are planning to file a group lawsuit against the South Korean government to demand that they pressure the Japan to give them the compensation they deserve. Around 80 South Koreans will be joining this class action suit as they believe they have the right to claim damages against Japan for damages suffered due to the bombings. This announcement was made to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the twin bombings that essentially brought an end to World War II.
“Without Japan’s colonial occupation, many South Koreans would not have become victims of the atomic bombings,” said Shim Jin-tae a representative of a group of survivors in Hapcheon. They are demanding that Seoul should increase their efforts to make the Japanese government accountable for the compensations and to pressure Tokyo to resolve the issue immediately. They believe that South Korea has a responsibility to help close this issue and that Japan should apologize and compensate them because there were a lot of Koreans who became victims because they were forced to be in Japan due to forced labor.
Japan’s stand on this issue is that all war-related compensation was already covered with the 1965 Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation between Japan and South Korea. The treaty was signed when the two countries normalized their diplomatic relations after the war. But South Korea rejected this claim in 2005, saying the hibakusha and comfort women issue are not covered by the agreement and should be dealt with separately. 2.600 South Koreans atomic bombing victims brought the issue of compensation to South Korea’s Constitutional Court and in August 2011, it ruled that it is “an omission and a human rights abuse” that the South Korean government is not negotiating with Japan over this issue. So in 2011, the government demanded from Japan that they start negotiations over the matter, but until now, there have been no talks held.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]