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Japanese Court Awards Damages to Chinese War Labor Victims

Japanese Court Awards Damages to Chinese War Labor Victims

Posted March. 26, 2004 22:24,   


A Japanese court delivered judgment admitting Japan’s war responsibility in a suit demanding compensation for the first time. The lawsuit was instituted against the Japanese government by Chinese victims who were commandeered by Japan and forced to work as laborers during the Second World War.

The Nigata district court ruled that “the Japanese government and a shipping business must pay 88 million yen total by paying 8 million yen to each plaintiff” in a suit demanding compensation filed by 11 Chinese ex-laborers against the Japanese government and the shipping business they had worked for.

According to the Japanese media, this is the first time that a Japanese court has admitted responsibility in any forced labor related lawsuits of the Second World War, and it may influence other suits instituted by Korean and Chinese victims.

Although the Japanese government maintains that Japan bears no responsibility because such forced labor occurred before the State Tort Liability Act was put into practice, the court decided in favor of the plaintiff, saying, “the action at that time lost its propriety from a viewpoint of justice and fairness.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com