The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday ruled that a Japanese woman born in China in 1951 was eligible to receive a special pension in Japan, contradicting an earlier government ruling rejecting her bid.
The special pension is offered to Japanese people born before 1946 who were forced to stay in China due to turmoil caused when the Soviet Union joined the war against Japan in the closing days of World War II.
The health ministry had said the woman, 63, was ineligible because the turmoil had ended by 1950. But in Tuesday’s ruling, Presiding Judge Yutaka Taniguchi said the ministry should have considered whether she was prevented from returning to Japan for any reason at all — irrespective of the turmoil. The new ruling said she should be considered a Japanese national forced to stay in China, and should be deemed eligible for the special pension. The ruling could be the first ever to overrule a government decision on the matter.