SEOUL – A South Korean court on Friday rejected a suit filed by 12 former "comfort women" seeking 100 million won (about $91,000) each in damages against the government over a controversial bilateral agreement with Japan. In the suit filed with the Seoul District Court in 2016, the women demanded that the government compensate them for mental and financial damages they claimed to have suffered as a result of the 2015 agreement to "finally and irreversibly" settle the issue of women who were forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels. In its ruling, the court acknowledged that the agreement is "lacking in clarity on many points." However, it concluded that in consideration of the process of reaching a bilateral consensus and diplomatic negotiations, it cannot be said that the government conducted illegal activities. "From today's ruling, the court has given legality to the government's decision in 2015, which is not understandable and therefore we will appeal," said the lawyer for the plaintiffs.
A North Korean woman who fled to South Korea, gained celebrity status there and then returned to Kim Jong Un's dictatorship last month claimed her "life in the South was a hell." Lim Ji-hyun, 26, resurfaced earlier this week in a taped interview uploaded on Uriminzokkiri, a propaganda website run by the North Korean government. She tearfully described how she was "lured" to South Korea with the "fantasy" that she would "eat well and make a lot of money there." "It was not the place I had imagined," she said in the video. "I had wandered around everywhere there to make money, working in drinking bars, but nothing had worked out."
HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima District Court rejected Wednesday a petition calling for the reversal of a Japanese government decision to exclude a Korean school from its tuition-free high school education program. In the lawsuit, the operator of Hiroshima Korean School, based in the city of Hiroshima, and 109 people including alumni also saw their demand for about ¥56 million in damages turned down by the court. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling. The ruling was the first on a series of similar lawsuits, also filed in four other locations. Under a government program launched in 2010, public high school students are exempt from tuition fees, while private high school students receive financial aid to make tuition effectively free, though with caps reflecting family income.
North Korean fishing boats have been found drifting south of the maritime border between the two Koreas at times, often having run out of fuel or broken down. Most North Korean crew are released to the North after interrogations by intelligence officials if they wish to return. It is more unusual for South Korean fishing vessels to be found under similar circumstances.