Japan’s Top Court Poised to Kill Lawsuits by Chinese War Victims – William Underwood and Kang Jian

From The Focus:

At a moment when the “comfort women” controversy is dominating the growing global discussion about Japanese war responsibility, the Japan Supreme Court is set to permanently foreclose the possibility of redress for Chinese war victims within the Japanese court system. Japan’s top court will hold a special hearing on March 16 in a compensation lawsuit brought by Chinese forced labor survivors against Nishimatsu Construction Corp. and the Japanese government. If, as expected, the Supreme Court rules that the victims’ right to file the claim has been extinguished by state treaties, it will ensure final defeat for all lawsuits by Chinese victims filed in Japanese courts.

Compensation claims for forced labor have been the most common, and most successful, type of lawsuit within the wave of litigation by Chinese plaintiffs that began in 1995. District courts have issued compensation rulings on three occasions, while the Hiroshima High Court ordered Nishimatsu to pay plaintiffs in 2004. Most claims have been rejected due to state immunity and filing deadlines, even as courts have routinely found that the Japanese state and companies engaged in illegal forced labor. The key question of whether Chinese victims have standing in Japanese courts at all has been largely sidestepped”until now. [Full Text]

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