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Japan appeals court dismisses Chinese WWII forced labor lawsuit

[JURIST] An appeals court in Japan [JURIST news archive] on Friday dismissed the appeal of a lawsuit brought in 1997 by 42 Chinese plaintiffs against the Japanese government and ten Japanese corporations seeking compensation for forced labor, saying the statute of limitations has expired on claims arising out of events that happened during World War II. The Court acknowledged that the Japanese government and many corporations profited from forced labor during the war [law review note], but refused to allow the 847.5 million yen (US$7.25 million) claim to proceed. The plaintiffs said they planned to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of Japan [official website, in English].

The Tokyo High Court [official website, in English] has consistently ruled against forced labor compensation claims arising from World War II events. Last July, the Court dismissed [JURIST report] a suit brought by Chinese plaintiffs for a germ attack, and last June, the Court overturned a 2001 district court ruling [JURIST report] granting compensation to a Chinese citizen brought to Japan to work in the mines, saying that the Japanese government had no duty to rescue the Chinese plaintiff from the mines. The Court has also cited as a general precedent the 1972 normalization of diplomatic relations between the countries, saying the agreement settled all claims between citizens of the two countries. In March, a district court dismissed a similar suit [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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