• Kyodo News


War-displaced Japanese living in Hyogo Prefecture and their lawyers held a sit-in Monday in front of the welfare ministry, asking the government not to appeal a court ruling last week awarding them damages.

They also demanded a meeting with Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa, whose ministry is in charge of the resettlement of war-displaced Japanese who were abandoned as children in China after World War II. They said they would conduct the sit-in between noon and 2 p.m. every day until Wednesday.

They planned to send a summary of the Kobe District Court’s ruling to every lawmaker in the Diet to seek their cooperation, and to hold a demonstration Thursday for filing a petition with the Diet.

In an unprecedented ruling Friday, the Kobe court ordered the government to pay 468.6 million yen in compensation to 61 of the 65 people who filed the suit over the long delay in their resettlement from China and poor support in Japan.

“We are all 65 or older,” said plaintiff Hiroko Tanaka, 70. “We don’t have time. The government should solve this problem in its entirety promptly and not appeal the ruling.”

About 80 people, including plaintiffs of similar lawsuits in Tokyo and Osaka, joined the sit-in. They held a banner saying “Please bring a complete solution to the demands of Japanese war-displaced in China.”

The Kobe ruling is the first to order the government to pay compensation in a number of similar lawsuits in 15 district courts and a high court. The Tokyo District Court is scheduled to hand down a ruling at the end of January.

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