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Japan court orders government to compensate WWII-era 'war orphans'

[JURIST] A Japanese court on Friday ordered the government of Japan [JURIST news archive] to pay 468 million yen to 61 Japanese plaintiffs who were displaced as children in China after World War II. The plaintiffs - known as "war orphans" - alleged that the government failed to promptly remove them from China after the war, causing them to face hardship as foreigners in China. They also claim that they endured difficulty acclimating to Japanese culture when they were repatriated in the 1970s. According to the lawsuit, the government failed to assist the repatriation process although many of the plaintiffs did not speak Japanese or were shunned by living relatives. In the 1930s, the government transported 320,000 settlers to the Manchuria province to establish a base of operations for Japan's 1937 invasion of China [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Many Japanese settlers were left behind after the war, however, and many children were raised by Chinese citizens. The plaintiffs remained displaced until 1975 when the government began locating them.

In 1994, the Japanese government passed legislation providing financial assistance to Japanese nationals who returned to Japan. Last year, an Osaka court rejected similar claims [JURIST report] from a different group of plaintiffs, declaring that the government had no obligation to provide compensation. Reuters has more.

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