• Kyodo News


The Sapporo and Kochi district courts rejected damages claims Friday in separate suits brought by two groups of war-displaced Japanese for state compensation for delayed resettlement from China and poor public support afterward, but acknowledged that some state measures were illegal.

The rulings became the seventh and eighth defeats for war-displaced Japanese from China among 15 similar damages suits filed since 2001.

In Sapporo, presiding Judge Katsuhiko Kasai said in handing down the ruling that the government was not obliged to resettle the plaintiffs in Japan at an early date or help them make a living after they came here.

The plaintiffs in the suits include 85 war-displaced people living in Hokkaido, including one who has died, and 56 in Kochi Prefecture. All had demanded 33 million yen in personal compensation.

In Kochi, presiding Judge Shinji Shintani recognized it was “illegal” for the government to all but decide to treat war-displaced people as foreigners in 1973 and beyond.

“The government was obliged to provide war orphans with travel fees to lead them to come to Japan,” the judge said.

The Kochi court said the illegal handling by the state of the issue caused a delay in the resettlement of 17 of the 56 people and it was also illegal for the government to treat 41 of the 56 plaintiffs, including the 17, as foreigners when they came to Japan.

But it said the plaintiffs have no legal right to claim the damages because the statute of limitations has expired.

The plaintiffs claimed the government was responsible for causing them to become war orphans after their parents and guardians left them behind in China or died there because they settled in then Manchuria under Japanese government policy.

The resettlement of the plaintiffs was delayed because the government failed to take proper measures and public support for their learning Japanese and finding jobs was insufficient, they said.

In the Hokkaido case, the plaintiffs who came to Japan from 1975 to 2001 told of difficulties making a living, saying more than 80 percent of them are living on public aid and their average age is 67.

The state claimed no legislation obliged the government to help war-displaced people come to Japan soon after the war and make a living after repatriation, and claimed the government has taken all possible measures and the matter of compensation is under the Diet’s discretion.

War-displaced Chinese of Japanese descent, 2,200 in total, have filed damages suits with 15 district courts.

Their claims were rejected in six cases at five courts, before Friday’s two rulings, except for the Kobe District Court, which last December favored the plaintiffs.

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