• Kyodo

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Six women filed a 198 million yen damages suit Friday against the central government, claiming it failed to support women who were repatriated from China after being displaced there amid confusion at the end of World War II.

The women, who are aged from 77 to 85 and reside in Tokyo, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, filed the suit with the Saitama District Court.

A similar lawsuit was lodged with the same court in April 2005 by a group of 13 women who have sought 430 million yen in damages from the government. One of the 13 later withdrew from the suit.

Last February, the Tokyo District Court, acting on a similar suit, turned down demands for 60 million yen in damages from three women who accused the government of failing to take swift action to repatriate them from China.

In the suit filed Friday, the plaintiffs argue that the government did nothing while knowing that a number of Japanese women were left behind in China after the war.

Moreover, the government neither provided sufficient living support to repatriated women nor helped them find jobs, they say.

The plaintiffs say such a lack of assistance has forced them to “be unable to lead humanly lives as ordinary Japanese nationals.”

After the 1972 restoration of diplomatic ties between Japan and China, a large number of Japanese war-displaced people have asked for Japanese government help to identify themselves and to be repatriated to Japan. Most of them were separated from their parents and left behind in China amid the postwar chaotic situation.

Those who were under around 13 at the time of the separation and whose identities are not known are called war-displaced orphans, while women who were over 13 and identified are called war-displaced women. Many of those war-displaced women were married to Chinese.

About 3,800 such war-displaced Japanese women and some 2,500 war-displaced orphans have been repatriated as of the end of 2005, government officials said. Some 210 more women are still in China.

Seven out of every 10 such repatriated women are given pensions of less than 50,000 yen a month.

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