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An 84-year-old Chinese man recounted in court how he was abducted from his home in 1944, taken to a Hokkaido coal mine where he was forced to work, then hid out in the mountains, where he lived alone for 13 years unaware that the war had ended.

Liu Lian Ren of Shandong Province is seeking 20 million yen in damages and a formal apology from the Japanese government for his experiences as a forced laborer.

He filed the civil suit with the Tokyo District Court in March 1996.

Liu told the court through an interpreter that he was abducted from his village in Shandong in September 1944 by Chinese soldiers under the Japanese military.

Without knowing where he was going, he was taken to Qingdao by train, then shipped to Japan along with 800 other Chinese men, Liu said. Among them, 200 were sent to a Hokkaido coal mine run by Meiji Mining Co.

He was forced to work under harsh conditions without a proper diet and in unsanitary conditions, he said. After fleeing the mine in July 1945, Liu hid in the mountains of Hokkaido for 13 years, sleeping in caves and surviving on grass and wild mushrooms, he said.

Unlike many other forced laborers, who returned home shortly after the war, Liu was unaware the war had ended until he was discovered by a local hunter in January 1958.

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