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Japan Nixes WWII Laborers' Compensation

A Japanese court has rejected compensation requests from Chinese laborers who were forcibly taken to Hokkaido to work for six Japanese companies during World War II, China News Service reported Tuesday.

A total of 70 Chinese, including 36 laborers who were forced to work in Japan during World War II and the families of seven who died, brought the lawsuit a few days ago to the regional court in Sapporo, asking the Japanese government and the six companies to apologize and pay more than 800 million yen (US$7.5 million) in compensation.

The court rejected the suit, saying that the statute of limitations had expired for both the companies and the government.

About 40,000 Chinese laborers were forced to work in 135 locations for 35 corporations in Japan during World War II.

Many of them never returned to China.

In the past two years, former Chinese laborers have brought 12 lawsuits to Japanese courts.

Regional courts in Japan have so far dismissed them, saying too much time has elapsed.

Some courts have said the statute of limitations on forcible work claims is 10 years; others have said the time limit for the right to claim compensation for illegal actions is 20 years.

Japan's Niigata regional court will make a decision on Friday on another case filed by 12 Chinese former slave laborers. The 12 have demanded the Japanese government compensate them in the amount of 2.8 million yen (US$26,238) for forcing them to work in Japan during World War II.

(China Daily March 24, 2004)

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