Chinese labourers seek $60 mn from Japan

Beijing, May 15 (IANS) An alliance of groups representing labourers who were forced to work for Mitsubishi Materials in Japan during World War II have sought about $60 million as compensation.

An executive at Mitsubishi Materials (Shanghai) Corp Tuesday accepted a document requesting compensation of 370 million yuan (about $60 million) for forced labourers used by Japan during World War II, China Daily reported.

“The executive promised to keep and hand over the document to Mitsubishi’s headquarters in Japan after half an hour’s dispute, with the presence of some Chinese and Japanese media,” said Kang Jian, a lawyer for the alliance groups.

The document asks for 100,000 yuan for each of the 3,765 Chinese labourers, including 711 people who died in Japan.

The groups also demanded the company issue an apology, which has never happened.

On Monday, the groups, composed of some survivors and their families, handed officials at the Japanese embassy in Beijing a letter urging the Japanese government and companies to apologise and provide compensation.

In 2009, the Japanese court announced the loss in the lawsuit of the Chinese forced labourers suing Mitsubishi, which proclaimed the 14 litigations against Japanese enterprises since 1996 came to nothing.

But the court recognised the malfeasance of the government and the companies to forcibly enslave Chinese labourers, which, according to Kang, paved the way to initiate negotiations outside judicial action.

“The court suggested the government and companies provide compensation to the labourers, and we’ll never give up,” she said.

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