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Japan high court dismisses Chinese WWII slave labor suit

[JURIST] The Japanese Sapporo High Court Thursday upheld a 2004 lower court decision [Japan Times report] rejecting a lawsuit brought by Chinese plaintiffs who say they were forced to work as slave laborers in mines and factories during World War II. The lawsuit, originally filed in 1999, sought nearly seven million dollars in compensation from the Chinese government and six companies, including Mitsui Mining Co., Sumitomo Coal Mining Co., and Mitsubishi Materials Corporation [corporate websites]. Judge Koki Ito found that the plaintiffs were illegally detained and transferred to Japan, where they were forced to work, but they did not have standing to sue because the 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China [text] renounced Chinese claims for war reparations from Japan. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

In April, the Supreme Court of Japan denied similar compensation claims [JURIST report] made by five Chinese wartime slave laborers, ruling that the 1972 Joint Communique cleared companies that had used Chinese slave labor of the obligation to compensate. In March, a Japanese district court dismissed another claim by Chinese nationals [JURIST report] against Mitsubishi Metals Corporation because the 20-year deadline for filing compensation claims under Japanese law had expired. AP has more.

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