The class action suit against Japan by Koreans who had been forced to join the military or work as comfort women that is taking place in the US will be able to expand its scope now that it is getting regular funding.
The funding for the lawsuit comes from representative Son Ju Eun of Megastudy (www.megastudy.net) who donated the funds in the form of a trust with the Beautiful Foundation. Starting with 35 million Won this year, the trust will reach 100 million Won in three years' time. The Beautiful Foundation held a ceremony in its meeting room on October 23 to relay the funds to Chairman Jeong Yeon Jin of the Committee to Restore Justice, the American civic group that is in charge of the lawsuit.
At the hand-over ceremony, representative Son said, "I set up the trust to carry on the spirit of my maternal grandfather Choi Dal Seok, a pastor who had courageously fought against Japan's order to bow at the altar of Shintoism. I am gratified that the funds will be used for the meaningful cause of rectifying distorted history." Chairman Jeong Yeon Jin said, "The victims have suffered from historical wrongdoings for half a century, and so it's the state that should be funding the case. Thus it is with mixed feelings that I accept this civilian funding." To which representative Son responded, "If the government maintains a lukewarm attitude because of diplomatic concerns, then citizens unhindered by such concerns should take the lead." Son went on to express the hope that her donation will become seed money for continued fund-raising among citizens.
The class action suit against Japan, initiated by Korean Americans, has been filed in the State of California based on its State Tort Liability Act, and is aimed at putting international pressure on Japanese corporations and the Japanese government, leaving them no choice but to offer compensation and public apology. Lawsuits in the US take the form of class action suits, which is very significant as it means that if the plaintiffs win the case, the court decision applies not just to the plaintiffs but to all the victims in Korea. The lawsuits currently filed in the US are the suit in California against three Japanese companies (Odona Cement/currently Taiheyo Cement, Mitsubishi and Mitsui) for forced military drafting and the suit in Washington DC against the Japanese government (plaintiffs from Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines) for sexual slavery.