Chinese workers to sue Mitsubishi

Elderly workers allege Japanese firm forced them to work in mines during the war and plan to sue in a Chinese court.

    Many Chinese are still angry about the Japanese occupation during World War II [GALLO/GETTY] 

    About 100 elderly Chinese workers who say they were forced to work in Japanese mines during World War II plan to sue Mitsubishi Materials Corp next week, their lawyer has said.

    The workers from Shandong province in the country's east will file their suit in a local court in China before September 18, when Chinese commemorate the Japense invasion of China, Fu Qiang, head of Shandong Pengfei Law Office, told Xinhua news agency.

    The workers, all aged over 80, will demand Mitsubishi Materials, for which they were allegedly forced to work, apologise and pay each of the workers compensation of about $14,500, Fu told Xinhua.

    Chinese resentment over the Japanese occupation still runs deep, and the lawsuit is the latest attempt by alleged war victims to gain redress.

    Labourers from Shandong made up about a quarter of the 40,000 Chinese sent to work in Japan during the war, Xinhua said. Of those, about 7,000 died.

    'Many died'

    "We have many lists of forced laborers," Fu told Xinhua. "But many have died and the number of witnesses of that part of history are declining."

    Lawyers for the workers allege that Mitsubishi Materials Corp forcibly took more than 2,700 Chinese to work at nine mines. 

    Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said last November that Japan's use of forced labour during World War II were serious militaristic crimes and grave human rights issues that have not yet been resolved, Xinhua reported.

    Japanese courts have rejected all compensation claims in 15 lawsuits filed over forced Chinese labourers since the 1990s, Xinhua reported.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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