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Japan Top Court Rejects Damage Lawsuit by Wartime Chinese Laborers
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Japan's Supreme court turned down Friday a damage lawsuit filed by former Chinese laborers who were forced to work in Japan during World War II and families of deceased laborers.

The top court's final ruling rejected the five plaintiffs' demands for the Tokyo-based construction contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co. to apologize and make compensation for them.
The damages suit was filed in 1998 by Shao Yicheng, Song Yicheng and three families of the deceased laborers, who were among some 360 Chinese forced by Nishimatsu Construction to labor under severe conditions in a working site in Hiroshima prefecture of southern Japan before the end of WWII. Among them, 29 laborers died either due to torture or on the ship back to China when Japan was defeated in 1945.

In 1998, the five plaintiffs demanded the Nishimatsu to apologize and pay damages of 5.5 million yen (US$46,760) for each.

In July 2004, the High Court of west Japan's Hiroshima prefecture awarded damages in full to the five plaintiffs, marking the first time a Japan high court has ordered the defendant in a series of lawsuits involving forced laborers to pay damages to the plaintiffs.

However, Nishimatsu Co. did not accept the ruling and appealed the Supreme Court for final rulings.

(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2007)

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