Chinese court rejects damages suit over forced wartime labor

JIJI

A regional court in northeastern China has rejected a lawsuit filed against the Japanese government and two Japanese companies by a group of Chinese demanding damages for forced labor during World War II, an informed source said Friday.

The group of 12, comprising former forced laborers and the families of those who have since died, submitted the written complaint to the Tangshan Intermediate People’s Court in Hebei province on Thursday but were told it could not be accepted.

Their lawyer thus withdrew the suit, the source said. The group is considering refiling the suit after reviewing it.

One source at a support group said the court has no authority to make a judgment on such a lawsuit. The court is expected to discuss the issue with a high court in the province.

The group is demanding that the Japanese government, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and Nippon Coke & Engineering Co. pay 1.8 million yuan to each member in damages.

Other relatives of forced laborers have told the group they want to join the lawsuit as well, the source said.