Court denies pension payment to Korean veteran
The Kyoto District Court on Friday turned down a request for payment of a government pension from a Korean resident of Japan who served in the Japanese military in World War II.
Lee Chang Sok, 72, sought 10 million yen from the Japanese government and retraction of a decision by the Pension Bureau of the Management and Coordination Agency that rejected his request for payment of a pension.
Presiding Judge Teruyuki Ode said the requirement for a person to have Japanese nationality to receive a pension is not irrational discrimination and is not unconstitutional.
According to the ruling, Lee enlisted in the Japanese military in 1943. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945, and Koreans during that period had Japanese nationality.
When World War II ended in 1945, Lee was taken from Manchuria by the Soviet army and forced to do manual labor in Siberia.
In 1953 he returned to Japan, and repeatedly sought payment of a pension, but was refused on the grounds that he had lost his Japanese nationality with the implementation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952 and was no longer eligible.
Lee filed a lawsuit in November 1992, maintaining that the refusal was a violation of human rights and of the Constitution.
Three other Koreans who served in the Japanese military have filed lawsuits over the nationality and registration requirements for receiving compensation for wartime injuries or death.
One case is being fought out at the Tokyo High Court while the other two are continuing at the Osaka High Court.
In 1995, the Osaka District Court rejected a plaintiff's request to overturn the government's refusal to pay compensation, maintaining that the matter is up to the legal policies of the government.
But the court added an opinion that not giving any kind of compensation to Korean residents is a grave discrimination and could be unconstitutional.