Seoul high court orders district court to review rejection of WWII labor claims

A South Korean high court has ordered a lower court to review its rejection of damage claims by those who say they or their relatives were forced to work for Japanese companies during World War Two.

The high court in Seoul on Thursday sent back the case to the Seoul central district court, saying there was a problem in its ruling.

In 2021, the district court turned down the claims by a group of 85 plaintiffs against 16 Japanese companies.

The ruling said there are restrictions on the legal rights of plaintiffs to claim damages in a lawsuit. It said upholding their claims could run counter to the principles of international law.

Some of the plaintiffs appealed the ruling.

The high court decision comes as South Korea's top court has ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation for wartime labor in 12 separate lawsuits.

Japan's government says any right to wartime claims was settled completely and finally under an agreement when the two countries normalized ties in 1965.