Mitsubishi and other Japanese firms shake sex-slave suit

posted on December 16, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge Monday dismissed a class action accusing six companies of helping the Japanese Empire force Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II.

Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, Hitachi, NYK Line and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal USA joined a growing list of defendants that evaded a class action brought by two former "comfort women," but U.S. District Judge William Alsup gave them until Dec. 28 to request leave to amend their complaint.

Named plaintiffs Hee Nam You and Kyng Soon Kim sued 19 defendants, including the Japanese government, its prince and its prime minister, in July. They claim the defendant corporations provided the trains, vehicles and vessels or the steel to make them, and the government took the abducted Korean women to "comfort stations," where they were forced to have sex "five to 30 times a day" with Japanese soldiers.

Alsup previously dismissed Mitsui & Co. and Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun from the class action, which included a defamation claim against the newspaper, for calling the women "voluntary prostitutes." In dismissing six more companies on Monday, Alsup found that claims for acts that took place more than 70 years ago were time-barred, and that the plaintiffs could not prove the defendants hid evidence that prevented them from suing decades earlier.

Alsup said the California Court of Appeal has rejected the plaintiffs' theory of outside reverse piercing to hold a U.S. subsidiary liable for the acts of its Japanese parent company.

The plaintiffs claimed the subsidiaries were alter egos of their parent firms, and that the U.S. satellite companies were established using profits gained from business dealings with Japan that aided in the perpetration of crimes against humanity.

source by courthousenews
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