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Japan 'war orphans' to accept aid deal, drop compensation lawsuits

[JURIST] Thousands of Japanese "war orphans" [JURIST news archive], children abandoned in China [Kyoto Journal backgrounder] after World War II, have accepted an aid proposal from the Japanese government in exchange for abandoning all compensation claims, government spokesperson Yasuhisa Shiozaki [official website] announced Monday. The aid proposal will increase the victims' monthly pension from $178 to $535, and the government will also provide an additional $648 monthly subsidy, while also promising to help cover their medical care and housing costs.

Approximately 2,200 "war orphans" have filed suit against the Japanese government seeking compensation for being not being repatriated and assimilated back into Japanese society sooner. Only 61 plaintiffs, who filed their suit in Kobe, have received compensation [JURIST report]. Japanese courts have consistently dismissed their lawsuits [JURIST report], ruling that the current Japanese government has no obligation to compensate the victims because it had no obligation to assist the repatriation and assimilation process. Courts have also ruled that the current Japanese government is not responsible for the actions of the wartime government, which operated under a different constitution.

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 World War II, however, and many children were raised by Chinese citizens. Many plaintiffs remained in China until 1975 when the government began locating them; they 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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