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Forced labor suits target Mitsubishi

JIJI

Relatives of deceased Chinese who were pressed into service during the war for the now-defunct Mitsubishi Mining Co., a predecessor to Mitsubishi Materials Corp., filed a lawsuit Tuesday against two Mitsubishi Group affiliates in China for damages totaling 700 million yuan.

The suit, filed with Shandong Provincial Higher People’s Court, targets Yantai Mitsubishi Cement Co., a Mitsubishi Materials unit in the eastern China province, and Mitsubishi Corp. (Qingdao), a unit connected to major Japanese trader Mitsubishi Corp. .

Saying they represent 700 former forced laborers, the four litigants have demanded 1 million yuan ($160,687) in compensation for each of the victims.

A series of lawsuits were filed in China in and after February for damages from Japanese firms or the Japanese government in relation to wartime forced labor.

This latest suit, however, is the first to target local subsidiaries of Japanese companies.

The total amount of damages sought in the case is one of the largest among recent lawsuits.