Massacre victims' families to sue Japanese gov't

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Japanese troops had caused many massacres in China during the Second World War [File Photo: Xinhua]

China Federation of Civil Claims against Japan accepted a consignation on Sunday for all family members of the Panjiayu Massacre victims during the World War II, to sue the Japanese government for compensation at a Chinese court, Xinhua News Agency reports.

Tong Zeng, Chairman of the federation, said: "This will be the first time for China's war victims to sue the Japanese government at a domestic court if the court accepts the lawsuit."

1298 villagers were killed and 96 were injured during a massacre by Japanese troops on January 25, 1941 in the Panjiayu Village, north China's Hebei province.

It's been estimated that the losses of the village surpasses 6 billion yuan, which will be the compensation amount claimed in the case.

The federation will hire lawyers to help villagers prepare related materials. Information about massacre victims have been handed in to Chinese law experts and authorities, and lawsuits will be filed against related Japanese corporations at the province's high court.

Since 1995, victims and relatives of those killed in the Japanese invasion of China have filed more than 30 lawsuits at Japanese courts for compensation and apology, but all in vain.

Japan's courts refused to accept or judged against the Chinese plaintiffs, citing time limitation expiration, questioning the motives behind the cases or equating civil compensation and war compensation that China decided to give up.

"The attitude of Japanese government has shut the door for solving the problems within Japan's judicial systems, so we started to advocate filing such lawsuits in China 10 years ago," Tong said.

Yang Qing, a lawyer who has been studying compensation cases concerning Anti-Japanese war, said war compensation included government compensation and private compensation. Giving up government compensation won't influence the claim of civil compensation, which had become an international convention after WWII.

Yang said Chinese courts have the right to judge these cases since they happened in China.

But some experts worry the lack of regulations on war compensation in Chinese laws may be another obstacle.

During this year's Two Sessions, 20 CPPCC advisors raised a joint proposal on improving domestic law to enable war victims to claim civil compensations against the Japanese government and enterprises.

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