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Korean World War II Laborers In Sakhalin Sue Japan For Lost Postal Savings, Insurance Premiums

Eleven Koreans who were recruited to work at Sakhalin Island during World War II and their relatives have sued the Japanese government and postal agency on Tuesday to recover lost savings deposits and life insurance premiums.

The plaintiffs, Eight men and three women, including bereaved family members who live in Japan, South Korea and Sakhalin, filed the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court.

The plaintiffs said they opened savings accounts and bought life insurance policies from Japan Post depositing from 56 cents to $37.67 when they lived in Sakhalin, a Japanese occupied territory during the war.

When the post offices closed after the island became a territory of the Soviet Union at the end of the war, the plaintiffs could not withdraw their postal savings or get a refund of their life insurance premiums.

The Koreans were not able to return to their own countries until 1990 and was not informed by the Japanese government on how to reclaim their money.

The group seeks $244,000, which is the present-day equivalent of their savings deposits and life insurance funds, with the Japan Post office in Sakhalin during World War II.

© AHN

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