China on Friday rebuked the Japanese Supreme Court for ruling that since the Chinese government's waived its right to war reparations in the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, this ban also extended to individual petitions from Chinese citizens.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao reacted upon being asked about the Japanese Supreme Court's rejection of a damage lawsuit filed by Chinese citizens pressed into forced labor by Japan during World War II.
The court's final ruling on Friday dismissed the five plaintiffs' demands for an apology and compensation damages of 5.5 million yen (US$46,760) each from Tokyo-based construction contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co.
The court also ruled that Chinese individuals had no right to demand war reparations from Japan, based on the wording in Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, which waives any right from the Chinese government to seek reparation.
Liu explained that this declaration had been politically-motivated to help the two countries co-exist peacefully. He slammed the Japanese judiciary body for once again disregarding protests lodged by China and said that China strongly opposes arbitrary interpretations of this article of the joint statement.
Liu pointed out that Japan's forced enslavement of Chinese during World War II was both a grave militaristic crime and a severe human rights issue that remained unresolved.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 1998 by Shao Yicheng, Song Yicheng and three families of deceased laborers, all of whom were among some 360 Chinese interned by Nishimatsu Construction into forced labor at a work camp near Hiroshima during World War II.
The Supreme Court's ruling did account for the suffering of the forced laborers and called on "concerned people to make efforts to provide relief to the victims."
Among those press-ganged by Nishimatsu in 1944, 29 laborers died either from torture or on the voyage back to China after Japan surrendered in 1945.
The High Court of Hiroshima Prefecture awarded full damages to the five plaintiffs in July 2004, the first time a Japanese high court ruled on the side of the plaintiffs in such a case. However, Nishimatsu appealed to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2007)