Individual Chinese are attempting to sue two Japanese companies now, for forced labor they were subjugated to back during the Pacific War. According to the article, the plaintiffs consist of two people and 35 family members of other deceased forced laborers. They are seeking around US$150K for each worker, as well as apologies printed in several Chinese and Japanese newspapers. Japanese courts and the Japanese government have dismissed the cases, with the main reason being that all claims were waived when both countries normalized relations back in 1972. Are these actions by China just another round of increasing tensions between the two governments, or do you think these cases have merit?
If the latter, according to an article by Mark Spoerer and Jochen Fleischhacker, in “The Compensation of Nazi Germany’s Forced Labourers: Demographic Findings and Political Implications” (available here: http://1.usa.gov/OFkzkd); in 1999, both Germany and Austria agreed to paid restitution (in today’s society, money is an apology) to survivors of forced labor camps. But these were two countries that came together and agreed to pay for their role in making foreign citizens work. In addition, this was scrutinized by the German and Austrian governments, as (if I remember correctly) they only agreed to pay people who were severely treated at these labor camps (read as “just because you worked there, didn’t necessarily mean you got money”).
So — if China wanted to go this route, and the Japanese courts allowed it, Japan and Korea (Korea was a colony of Japan and participated in the Pacific War *just* as much as Austria did as a colony of Germany).
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