S.Korean media divided over wartime suit dismissal

South Korean media have been divided over a court's dismissal of a wartime labor compensation suit filed by South Koreans and their families against 16 Japanese companies.

The decision by a district court in Seoul on Monday ran counter to a Supreme Court ruling in a similar case in 2018, ordering a Japanese company to pay damages.

Major newspapers gave heavy coverage to the issue on Tuesday.

The Chosunilbo said an assessment was reached that the Supreme Court ruling was unreasonable.

It quoted an incumbent judge as saying that the Supreme Court did not take international relations into account and followed public sentiment against Japan.

The JoongAng Ilbo ran an editorial noting that the contradictory rulings have undermined the South Korean government's logic that it will respect the judicial decision. It said active efforts must be made to resolve this issue diplomatically, through talks with Japan.

Meanwhile, the progressive Hankyoreh newspaper editorial was critical, referring to the court's comment that relations with Japan and the US could be harmed. It said unilateral political and diplomatic values interfered with the decision. It said the decision would create judicial turmoil and delay relief for the victims.