May 28 (UPI) -- A Japanese court ruled Tuesday ethnic Koreans memorialized at Yasukuni Shrine are not eligible for removal from the shrine's list of names of more than 2 million men, women and children.
Tokyo district court dismissed a claim, filed by 27 plaintiffs in October 2013, requesting "cancellation" of their family members from the memorial to Japan's war dead that includes convicted war criminals.
According to the Japanese court, all claims of the plaintiffs are to be dismissed, and the plaintiffs will "bear the cost of the lawsuit" filed more than five years ago.
Japan colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945. The state conscripted Korean men into the imperial army during wartime. A total of 21,111 Koreans who died during the war are honored at the shrine with convicted war criminals often responsible for exploiting colonized populations.
The lawsuit is the second case of its kind. South Korean and Japanese civic groups joined forces starting in 2007 to resolve the issue legally. The first suit filed around that time was also dismissed in Japan, according to South Korean paper Seoul Shinmun.
South Korean group Center for Historical Truth and Justice, and affiliate Council for Compensation for Victims of the Pacific War, issued a statement following the court decision.
"We strongly condemn the unjust judgment of the Japanese judiciary," the activists said. "The Japanese court ignored the legitimate requests of the plaintiffs to remove their fathers' names from Yasukuni, and repeated unfair rulings."
The activists also said they would appeal the decision in international courts in order "recover the damage suffered by Korean victims" during wartime.
Japan began to enshrine Koreans at Yasukuni in 1959, adding more names six times from 1959 to 1976, according to South Korean news service Newsis.
South Korea previously criticized Tokyo following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision in 2018 to make a ritual offering at Yasukuni Shrine.