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Japan courts reject 'war orphans' compensation claims

[JURIST] Japanese district courts in Kochi and Sapporo Friday rejected the claims of two groups of Japanese abandoned in China as children [Kyoto Journal backgrounder] after World War II, ruling that the current Japanese government was not obligated to compensate the so-called "war orphans" [JURIST news archive] because Japan had no obligation to to assist their repatriation and assimilation back in Japan. The "war orphans," whose parents had been settled in China as a part of Japanese wartime policy, had sought approximately $267,000 per person in compensation.

To date, only 61 of the approximately 2,200 individuals who have filed similar suits have won compensation from the Japanese government. The 61 plaintiffs who filed their suit in Kobe each received approximately $62,000 in compensation [JURIST report]. Approximately 320,000 Japanese citizens were settled in Manchuria 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. Many plaintiffs remained in China until 1975 when the government began locating them, did not speak Japanese and were shunned by surviving relatives, and most continue to rely on public aid as a result of the relocation. AP has more.

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