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Japan court dismisses Chinese WWII forced labor compensation claim

[JURIST] The Fukuoka district court in Japan on Wednesday dismissed [Kyodo News report] a case brought by 45 Chinese men accusing the Japanese government and two Japanese mining companies of forcing them to work in Japanese coal mines during World War II. The men asserted that they were taken from China against their will and were taken to the Mitsui Miike and the Mitusbishi Iizuka mines, where they were forced to labor between 1943 and 1945. The court noted that the Japanese government had committed an illegal act by bringing the Chinese men to the country against their will, but that the Japanese government cannot be held liable for the actions of its wartime leaders, who were operating under a pre-World War II constitution. The court also noted that the suit was filed long after the 20 year statute of limitations on compensation claims had run. The plaintiffs were seeking $9 million in damages, as well as a published apology from the defendants. Criticizing Wednesday's ruling, the plaintiffs have said they will appeal [Xinhua report] the trial court's decision. AP has more.

Japanese courts have in the past year dismissed at least two other cases brought by Chinese citizens seeking damages from alleged wartime atrocities. Last June, the Tokyo High Court [official website, in English] overturned [JURIST report] a ruling by a lower court that compensated a Chinese citizen for forced labor during World War II. Last April, the same court found that a group of Chinese victims of wartime atrocities were not entitled to compensation [JURIST report]. Last month, it was reported that Chinese companies had donated more than $315,000 [JURIST report] to help pay for lawsuits against the Japanese government.

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