- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 123 Hour
- Reading permission
A protracted legal effort by a group of former Chinese laborers, who were forced to work under intense conditions during World War II by Japanese forces, has come to an end.|
Under a deal, some 360 Chinese laborers who were ordered to work for Japan's Nishimatsu Construction Co during World War II will receive 250 million yen ($2.77 million) from the company.
The deal comes after three lawsuits over the past 16 years, according to local Qilu Evening News.
Seventy-nine out of 120 survivors attended the settlement meeting Monday in Qingdao, Shandong Province.
According to the settlement, each victim will receive 6 million yen ($ 66,434) in compensation, or just over 454,000 yuan ($66,481) each, while the rest of the money will be used to construct a memorial in the prefecture and to search for 240 missing victims or their families.
"This is the first formal apology by a Japanese company that hurt Chinese nationals during World War II," said Professor Liu Baochen from Hebei University, who began researching laborer issues in 1988.
In 1944, the 360 Chinese were forced by Nishimatsu Construction to go and work under severe conditions at
a site in Hiroshima prefecture to construct a power plant. Among them, 29 laborers died either from torture or on the ship back to China after Japan surrendered in 1945.
Japanese citizens and civil organizations worked long to reach a solution, according to the newspaper.
"We established some societies to publicize the laborers' sufferings and let more people know the sins of the country," said Yoko Kawahara, a society leader.
Kawahara said she heard the nightmare experiences from the victims in Qingdao in April 1992 with the assistance of the group's lawyer, Liu Baochen.
An elderly named Yu Zhengkun told her that three fingers on his right hand were cut off by a machine when he worked at a cigarette factory in Japan, and he lost the ability to work when he returned to China.
"When he asked 'how to compensate me', I was speechless; I had the idea to help the victims to ask back the money from then on," she said.
Moreover, seven members of the society bought shares of Nishimatsu Construction to earn the right to speak at the company's annual shareholders meeting, placing pressure on the company and reminded them of the pending case.
In 1998, five war laborers demanded that Nishimatsu apologize and pay damages of 5.5 million yen ($60,439) to each person.
In April 2007, Supreme Court in Japan turned down the lawsuit, claiming that individuals from China have no rights to war reparation claims from Japan because China gave up that right under the Japan- China Joint Statement signed in 1972.
Many Chinese senior victims went to the courts in Japan in recent years over comfort women, forced labor, toxic gas and others. But few of them won the suits.