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Japanese sue government for wartime suffering on Pacific islands

JIJI

A lawsuit was filed Thursday against the government by 24 residents of Okinawa seeking compensation for their World War II suffering while living on Pacific islands Japan had occupied.

The suit, filed with the Naha District Court in Okinawa, is the first to seek state compensation for suffering caused to former Japanese residents of the Japanese-occupied islands, which include Saipan, Tinian and the Philippines.

The 24 litigants, now residents of Okinawa, range in age from 67 to 101. They blame the government for failing to protect them and their deceased kin, and are each seeking ¥11 million in compensation.

Thousands of people migrated from Okinawa to the Pacific islands, and more than 25,000 of them are believed to have died as a result of the war, according to lawyer Shigeru Zukeyama.

“The war will not end until compensation is made to those who suffered because of it,” Zukeyama said.

Separately, seven people joined a lawsuit against the government that is seeking compensation for suffering experienced during the Battle of Okinawa. This brought the total number of plaintiffs in the suit to 70.