Posted January. 19, 2005 23:27,
South Korean victims of forced labor who were victimized by the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima during the Pacific War won their damage lawsuit against the Japanese government and a Japanese company.
The 40 South Koreans, including Lee Geun-mok (78), had filed a damage suit against the Japanese government and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and requested unpaid wages, but it was thrown out by a district court. The Hiroshima high court overturned the ruling and ordered Wednesday that the Japanese government should pay 1.2 million yen (about US$ 12,000) in compensation to each plaintiff.
It was the first time that a Japanese court ordered compensation for atomic bomb victims overseas, Kyodo News reported. Plaintiffs were forcibly conscripted laborers taken to Japan. They fell victim to the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima when they were working at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plant in Hiroshima.
There is something wrong with the district courts ruling that plaintiffs leaving Japan terminated their rights to receive compensation that is stipulated in the Japans law regarding compensation for the atomic bombing. The Japanese government should pay compensation for their mental distress, said the appellate court.
In 1995, the plaintiffs had filed a damage suit demanding 440 million yen in the Hiroshima district court, but the court denied the case, ruling that a Japanese company could not be held responsible for activities wrongfully conducted by the governmental authority during the Pacific War, and the statute of limitations of the civil law had already run out.