South Korean court begins trial over Japan's sexual slavery

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A Seoul court has begun hearing a long-awaited civil case filed against the Japanese government by South Korean women who were forced to work in Japan's World War II military brothels.

The trial at the Seoul Central District Court proceeded Wednesday with empty seats in the defendant's dock because Japan has refused to participate in the case.

A group of 20 former sex slaves and relatives filed the suit in 2016 seeking compensation of 200 million won ($171,000) each. Japan insists that all compensation matters were settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the countries.

The case comes amid a deep row between Seoul and Tokyo over wartime history that has spilled over into trade and military matters.

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