Court Overturns Ruling on 2015 'Comfort Women' Deal Document Disclosure

Photo : YONHAP News


A Seoul appellate court has overturned a lower court’s ruling which ordered the South Korean government to disclose details of the negotiation process leading up to a 2015 deal with Japan regarding Korean victims of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement.

On Thursday, the Seoul High Court dismissed the request filed in 2016 by lawyer Song Ki-ho, a member of an association of progressive attorneys.

While the lower court had ordered the release of documents to protect the public’s right to know and to ensure transparency regarding the government’s actions, the appeals court determined that not disclosing the files would be more desirable for the national interest.

The high court explained that disclosure of the documents without Japan’s consent would strain diplomatic trust between the two sides and could lead to a conflict of interest or tension in diplomatic ties.

Following Thursday’s ruling, Song said he will consult with the victims about appealing the court’s decision. He added that he will continue efforts to make Japan acknowledge it had coerced the victims into sexual slavery and provide a proper apology and compensation.