Reflecting "Japanese justice's weird logic on its wartime
history", the Tokyo High Court Wednesday overturned Niigata
District Court's landmark ruling that had ordered the Japan
government and a company to pay compensation to the Chinese made to
work as forced laborers during World War II.
The presiding judge conceded that the Japanese government and
Niigata-based Rinko Corp had infringed on the rights of the
Chinese. But he ruled that the 20-year limit of their right to
demand compensation had expired and the state cannot be held
responsible for actions taken before the National Redress Law was
enforced in 1947.
The plaintiffs' renewed demand for higher compensation, too, was
Kang Jian, a member of the group of lawyers for the plaintiffs,
said the ruling was a shame on the court and reflected Japanese
justice's weird logic on its wartime history.
Xing Nianfang, one of the plaintiffs, was angry with the ruling and
vowed to file a suit to the "final end" and till the victims got
Eleven Chinese forced laborers filed the damages suit in the
Niigata District Court in 1999. The court ruled in March 2004 that
the Japanese government and the harbor transport company pay 8
million yen (about US$68,000) in compensation to each of the
victims. It was the first ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the
three wartime forced labor lawsuits filed by Chinese people and
In response to the Niigata court ruling, the defendants and the
plaintiffs appealed to the Tokyo High Court to demand a higher
The invading Japanese army forcibly took about 900 Chinese in
their 20s to a port in western Niigata in 1944, and forced them to
do backbreaking work under poor conditions and even tortured
Such were conditions that 159 of them died within a year.
(China Daily March 16, 2007)