A group of Japanese left behind as children in China during the war plans to sue the government for damages by mid-December.

The war orphans, meeting in Tokyo, said Monday the government should compensate them for not acting swiftly to secure their settlement in Japan and for its failure to provide adequate assistance after they came to live in Japan, their supporters said.

The so-called war orphans were either abandoned by their Japanese families or otherwise separated from them in China in the chaotic closing days of the war. Some were taken in by Chinese.

The suit is being prepared as criticism continues regarding present policies toward the war orphans, many of whom continue to live in hardship, even after managing to settle to Japan, because of the language barrier and the protracted economic slump.

Earlier, the group said it will demand that the government pay 33 million yen in damages to each plaintiff.

At Monday’s gathering, lawyers for the group said that to date, 629 people will join the suit as plaintiffs.

Tsuneo Suzuki, who will head the team of lawyers for the suit, said he hopes the legal action will prompt the government to improve its policies regarding war-displaced Japanese.

Another lawyer, Yukihiko Yasuhara, said the suit is aimed to allow war-displaced Japanese to lead the remainder of their lives “as humans should.”

At the close of the meeting, 57-year-old Sumie Ikeda, who will lead the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, read a statement saying she would spend the rest of her life battling the government.

“The aim of this suit is to regain our human rights as well as to clarify the state’s responsibility for turning its backs on small children and thus receive an apology and redress,” she said.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.