Japan's Kobe District Court ruled on Friday that the government pay a total of 468.6 million yen (about US$4 million) in state compensation to 61 war-displaced Japanese for failing to repatriate them swiftly and give sufficient support for their life back home.
The 61 people, who came back and settled in Hyogo Prefecture and elsewhere from northeastern China between 1976 to 1999, demanded in the suit compensation of 33 million yen (about US$284,500) each.
The plaintiffs claimed that they were displaced because of the then Japanese government's policy, and the government's failure to take them back home in time and to provide enough help after their repatriation led to their incapability to be self-reliant in Japan. They argued that their rights to live humanely as Japanese citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution, were violated.
The court ruled that the government's illegal administrative action, instead of the war, induced the plaintiffs' delayed homecoming and the government's neglect of obligation led to the plaintiffs' failing to be independent.
Four other plaintiffs' demands were turned down by the court, which cited the expiration of their rights in 20 years to claim compensation.
During the court procedures, the government completely denied its obligations in connection with the claims and depreciated the rights claimed by the plaintiffs as abstract. It also said that the decision power on whether or not compensation is necessary should go to administrative branches of the government.
This is the first ruling to admit state responsibility of compensation for the war-displaced. Japanese media said the ruling will have an impact on 15 similar ongoing lawsuits which were filed by about 2,000, or 80 percent of all the resettled war-displaced all over Japan.
About a total of 2,500 war-displaced Japanese have settled back since the normalization of the Sino-Japanese relations. According to a survey by the Japanese health ministry, 60 percent of the repatriated war-displaced described their lives as hard and 16 percent said it was a wrong decision to settle back.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2006)