South Korean 'comfort women' sue Japan rock band for calling them prostitutes

SEOUL (AFP) - A group of South Korean women forced into wartime sexual slavery by Japan filed a defamation suit on Monday against a little known, far-right Japanese rock band for calling them prostitutes.

A CD containing a song with the allegedly defamatory lyrics by the band "Scramble" was mailed - along with a translated text - to a shelter caring for so-called "comfort women" in Gwangju, south of Seoul, last week.

The song, with an accompanying video posted on YouTube in January, is titled "Slashing Koreans" and contains inflammatory lyrics, exhorting violence against "the elderly prostitutes".

"Scramble" has no real public profile in Japan, and a fan base that appears limited to fringe ultra-right nationalists.

Eight comfort women in their 80s and 90s, who were "shocked" by the song, filed a lawsuit at the Seoul central prosecutors' office on Monday.

"They felt that justice should be done to put things right," a spokesman for the women said.

Historians say about 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines and other countries were drafted to work in Japanese army brothels in Asia.

The "comfort women" issue, along with other wartime atrocities perpetrated during the Japanese occupation, has long remained a source of contention between Seoul and Tokyo.

South Korea insists that Japan has failed to make proper reparations, while Japan says all claims for colonial-era suffering were settled in a 1965 compensation agreement with Seoul.