A Chinese man who was forced to work as a slave laborer in Japanese mines during World War II for Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co. visited the major steelmaker and demanded an apology Thursday, a day after losing a damages lawsuit against the firm and the government.
Liu Zonggen, 72, and about 20 supporters visited the stainless steel producer’s headquarters in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, to demand an apology and compensation for forcing him to toil in nickel mines in Kyoto Prefecture.
“I must question the firm about whether it has a sense of guilt,” Liu said.
But Nippon Yakin Kogyo told Liu that it has no intention to apologize or pay compensation, according to Tsutomu Kobayashi, a lawyer representing Liu and others in the suit.
“It does not mean the firm is immune from its responsibility,” Kobayashi said. “There must be redress.” Supporters distributed fliers outside the firm, calling for people to back Liu and other former Chinese slave laborers who were plaintiffs in the suit.
On Wednesday, the Kyoto District Court rejected the former slaves’ claim, filed in August 1998 by Liu, four other former laborers and the family of a deceased man, for a total of 130 million yen in compensation and an apology from Nippon Yakin Kogyo and the government.
The court had recommended a settlement in July 2001. But the firm and the government refused, claiming they bear no liability because Japan’s wartime Constitution is no longer in effect.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers earlier said they will appeal to a higher court.
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