Two Chinese plaintiffs who successfully sued Japan over weapons abandoned in China at the end of the war urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Wednesday not to appeal a court ruling ordering the state to pay 190 million yen in compensation.
Liu Min, 27, and Li Chen, 58, are two of the 13 plaintiffs who lost relatives or suffered health problems from weapons abandoned by the Imperial Japanese Army.
They tried to meet Koizumi in the Diet building Wednesday evening as he walked out of a Lower House Budget Committee meeting.
“For the sake of friendship between Japan and China, please don’t appeal the ruling,” the two tearful plaintiffs shouted at the prime minister.
Koizumi, surrounded by security escorts, walked away without saying a word.
He told reporters later in the day that the government will make a decision on the matter after it has been considered by the Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry.
On Monday, the Tokyo District Court held the state responsible for failing to provide sufficient information on its abandoned chemical weapons.
“I have breathing problems and I have been fighting with illness for 29 years,” said Li, who developed blisters all over his body after coming into contact with poison gas while working on a ship in 1974. “I really hope that the government will take a bold step and decide not to appeal the ruling.”
Tomoko Nakagawa, a House of Representatives lawmaker of the Social Democratic Party who organized the plaintiffs’ visit to the Diet, urged the government to take responsibility, in line with the court ruling.
“It’s shameful that the government avoids taking responsibility for unresolved issues of war 58 years ago,” she said.
Earlier in the day, the two plaintiffs met with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi at the Diet, issuing the same request.
According to their lawyers, Kawaguchi offered heartfelt condolences for those who had suffered.
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