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Japan rejects compensation for Chinese war victims

The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday rejected a suit by four Chinese women seeking damages from the Japanese government for being forced as sex slaves to Japanese aggressors during World War II, but met strong discontentment and protest from the plaintiffs and others.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers' delegation said the ruling is unjust and they will appeal to Japan's Supreme Court.

While rejecting damage compensation, the court recognized that the four plaintiffs were taken by force into Japanese military bases and repeatedly raped between 1942 and 1944 in Shanxi Province in northeastern China.

Li Xiumei, 77, and three others had filed the lawsuit since 1995 with the Tokyo District Court seeking compensation of 23 million yen (219,000 US dollars) each.

The suit was rejected on May 30, 2001, with the district court dismissing the women's claims of abuse.

In handing down the decision on Wednesday, Presiding Judge Makoto Nemoto accepted that the Japanese military set up wartime brothels in China and that the four, when they were aged 15 to 20,were forced by the military into the brothels and confined there and repeatedly raped.

But he rejected their claims for compensation, saying Japan "has no responsibility to pay compensation for any acts committed by state authorities under the Meiji Constitution."

The current Japanese Constitution provides for the right to compensation based on such laws as the State Redress Law, he claimed.

The judge also cited that the plaintiffs' rights to claim "have expired because of a 20-year statute of limitation."

People's Daily Online

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