• Kyodo


The Nagoya District Court turned down a damages suit Thursday filed by a group of war-displaced Japanese who claimed the Tokyo government failed to swiftly bring them from China after the end of World War II and provide adequate support after they arrived.

Rejecting the suit brought by 168 people who sought 33 million yen each, presiding Judge Nobuaki Watanabe said, “Although there were insufficiencies in the state policy to realize the early (resettlement) of the plaintiffs and their independent life, it cannot be said the policy was extremely irrational.”

Thursday’s decision was the fifth in a list of 15 lawsuits filed by about 2,200 war-displaced people. All of the rulings but one so far have been in the government’s favor.

Last December, the Kobe District Court ruled the government failed in its responsibility toward the war-displaced and ordered it to pay 468.6 million yen in compensation to 61 of 65 plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs in the Nagoya suit, aged 67 on average, were displaced in Japanese-ruled Manchuria after being separated from their parents amid the chaos at the end of the war.

They argued that Tokyo neglected to perform its duty to swiftly bring them to Japan and also failed to provide enough support, particularly Japanese language training, to help them lead self-reliant lives after their resettlement.

They also insisted that their rights to lead decent lives as Japanese were infringed upon.

The government contended it did what it could do to quickly resettle the war-displaced in Japan and provided Japanese-language training and welfare benefits.

In late January, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hakuo Yanagisawa and Shoichi Nakagawa, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, to draw up new measures to support the former war-displaced people.

The welfare ministry plans to work out a fresh support package for the war-displaced this summer.

It was not until 1981 that the government started to bring the displaced people to Japan in group visits to search for kin.

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