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Japan court dismisses China war orphan lawsuit

[JURIST] A Japanese court threw out a lawsuit by a group of Japanese abandoned in China as children [Kyoto Journal backgrounder] after Japan's defeat in World War II, officials said Thursday. Plaintiffs had alleged that the government was responsible for delaying their return to Japan [JURIST news archive] by decades and, upon their return, denying them adequate state support. They sought 5.54 billion yen in compensation, according to a court spokesman. Presiding Judge Nobuaki Watanabe held that attempts to bring Japanese children at the close of the war were indeed "insufficient," but that government policy toward the orphans could not be considered "extremely irrational."

In January, a Tokyo District court denied compensation to 40 war orphans, and a similar claim was rejected by an Osaka court in 2005 [JURIST reports]. In December 2006, a group of 61 former war orphans won a suit [JURIST report] demanding 468 million yen in compensation. Thousands of Japanese children were abandoned in China as their parents fled the country to escape the approach of former Soviet troops at the end of the war in 1945; many children were later adopted by Chinese citizens. In 1972, about 2,500 "war orphans" returned to Japan after after the country normalized relations with China. In 1994, the Japanese government passed legislation providing financial assistance to Japanese nationals who returned to Japan. The 168 plaintiffs were among 2,200 war orphans who have filed suits in 15 courts in Japan. The China Post has more.

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