Chinese WWII slaves split over Mitsubishi compensation

2015-08-04 08:20Global Times Editor: Li Yan

Settlement to pave way for more individual claimants: scholar

Representatives of Chinese victims of forced labor during World War II on Monday said they would accept the compensation offered by Japan's Mitsubishi Materials, despite the refusal of some groups to accept the settlement. [Special coverage]

Several representative groups on Monday held a press conference in Beijing and announced that despite not being satisfied with the apology letter or the amount of compensation Mitsubishi offered, most victims and relatives they represent have decided to accept.

"We have not reached a final agreement with Mitsubishi on compensation details yet, but both sides have agreed to settle the issue as soon as possible," Wang Hongjie, a representative and grandson of a deceased forced laborer, told the Global Times Monday.

News of the planned apology to Chinese forced laborers was first released in late July, a few days after the unprecedented apology to U.S. prisoners of war used as forced labor by the company.

Wang said he believes that a timely settlement is key for the surviving victims, despite the fact that the conditions are not optimal.

"We think that a lawsuit won't solve the problem as a whole. It may also take a long time. The victims may not live long enough to see this day [of success]," Wang said.

Kyodo News earlier reported that Mitsubishi is planning to offer all 3,765 victims or their families 2 million yen ($16,000) each for its wartime wrongdoings.

Mitsubishi will also erect a memorial and spend about 200 million yen to investigate the relevant issues, said Kyodo News.

According to a letter of apology revealed by the China Federation to Demand Compensation from Japan in late July, "The company honestly admits the historical facts that the human rights of Chinese laborers were infringed upon and expresses deep remorse."

However, Deng Jianguo, a lawyer representing another group of about 500 victims, said they would continue to pursue the matter in Chinese courts for more compensation.

"There have been split opinions among victims and representatives over the compensation arrangement. Some of us think that Mitsubishi should at least give 600,000 to 1 million yuan ($97,000-161,000). The current arrangement has not shown the company's sincerity in the apology," Deng said.

Deng also maintains that individual victims should decide on their own whether to accept the compensation, and no other group has the right to represent these individuals in reaching reconciliation. He said a fund should be set up instead of one-off compensation.

About 40,000 Chinese people were forced into labor in Japan during the war, among whom some 7,000 died because of inhumane treatment, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Deng also argued that "Mitsubishi's move to apologize to the U.S. before announcing their planned apology was manipulation to pressure China to follow the U.S. in accepting the apology."

Following the joint statement reached by the Chinese and Japanese government in 1972 to normalize ties that had been strained since the war, many in Japan have argued that China has relinquished the right to seek more compensation. China at that time waived the right to war reparations at the state level.

Since the 1990s, Chinese survivors have filed a series of lawsuits against Japanese companies for the suffering they inflicted on the forced laborers.

Hu Lingyuan, professor with the Center for Japanese Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, believes that the recent development reflects that the right of a government to seek compensation differs from the rights of individuals.

"The efforts of individual claimants continued after the 1972 consensus, but weren't very successful until recent years. We have seen significant progress lately with this new development. More victims will stand up for their rights," Hu told the Global Times.

"The line between the Japanese government and the private sector has become clearer in recent years. Mitsubishi should take on its corporate responsibility for the role it played during the war as a military manufacturer, and admit that it forced people from China and Korea into slave labor," he said.


Related news


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Travel News
Travel Types
Bar & Club
CNS Photo
Learning Chinese
Learn About China
Social Chinese
Business Chinese
Buzz Words
Special Coverage
Back to top Links | About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2018 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.