- 14 Mar 2002
- Reaction score
A few more bite the dust. It's a shame that the expiration of a deadline is an obstacle to justice.
A court has thrown out a lawsuit by a group of Chinese who sought compensation from the Japanese government and 10 companies for allegedly using them as slave laborers during World War II. Tokyo District Court Judge Mariko Watahiki dismissed the claims, ruling the government and companies were not responsible for individual damages. Watahiki acknowledged, however, that Japan had systematically used forced laborers in wartime. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 42 Chinese, only 24 of whom are still alive. All are in their 70s. The Chinese say they were captured by the Japanese military between 1944 and 1945 and sent to work under dangerous conditions mostly in Japan's construction and mining industries. They had sued for a total of 847.5 million yen (US$7.25 million) in damages. [...] Kazuyoshi Iwama, a spokesman for Tokyo-based Furukawa, said the copper producer and heavy equipment maker approved of the verdict. He declined to elaborate. Tuesday's ruling upheld precedents set by previous cases. Japan's courts have recently ruled that the government and companies broke the law by using forced labor. But they rarely rule in favor of plaintiffs seeking compensation, citing the expiration of a deadline for filing such claims. Tokyo has generally refused to pay damages to individuals, saying the issue was settled on a government-to-government basis in postwar treaties. That stance has drawn criticism at home and abroad that it remains unrepentant for its wartime wrongs.