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FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Fukuoka High Court on Monday dismissed a damages suit against the government and two companies by 45 Chinese who were forced to work as laborers in Japan during World War II.

The court acknowledged that forcibly taking the Chinese to coal mines in Fukuoka Prefecture was an illegal act committed jointly by the government and the companies. However, it noted that individual Chinese have no right to demand war reparations from Japan due to a postwar agreement.

The ruling that individual Chinese have no right to seek war reparations is in line with a Supreme Court decision in April 2007.

The Supreme Court ruled that the right was abandoned under the 1972 Japan-China Joint Communique, in which Beijing declared it “renounces its war reparation from Japan,” and cannot be exercised at courts.

The Chinese plaintiffs, including relatives of those who were forced to work as laborers, had demanded that the government, Mitsui Mining Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. pay a combined ¥1.035 billion in compensation.

Last April, the high court’s presiding judge, Koji Ishii, effectively recommended the two sides settle out of court, issuing a paper that said forcibly taking Chinese people to Japan was “a state policy” and that “the pain the victims have suffered was big.” But negotiations were broken off, partly because the government rejected the suggestion.

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