• Kyodo

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The Fukuoka High Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a Taiwan-born man demanding compensation for his detention as a war criminal for the role he played as a member of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Miki Hayashi, 76, of Sadowara, Miyazaki Prefecture, was seeking 25 million yen in damages from the government, but the Miyazaki branch of the high court supported a lower court ruling against him.

Judge Tsutomu Mabuchi said the court could not recognize an individual’s right to receive an apology or compensation from the government for damages stemming from war.

“No wording in the Constitution mentions such a right, and it cannot be interpreted that such a right is guaranteed in any abstract way,” he said.

According to the court, Hayashi was dispatched from Taiwan to Borneo for roughly three years from 1942 on orders by the Japanese military to guard prisoners of war who were forced to work at construction sites and other jobs. After the war ended, he was jailed by the Allied forces for abusing POWs.

In 1984, Hayashi asked the Japanese government to pay him a veteran’s pension, but the request was denied because he had lost his Japanese nationality with the end of the war and the end of Japan’s colonial rule of Taiwan.

He regained Japanese nationality in 1972.

A lower court in February ruled that while legislation was needed to assist individuals who were victims of Japan’s colonial rule policies, “There is no current legislation that enables a plaintiff to demand an apology or compensation from the government.”

Hayashi expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling. He had maintained during the appeal that even if there were no laws to support the compensation of an individual, the courts should serve as a bastion for the protection of human rights.

“The suit was filed because I cannot, in my old age, move politicians,” Hayashi said. “Half of me died when I went to war, and the remaining half lives on just for this court battle.”

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