Sunday, July 25, 2004

More Japanese WWII 'orphans' sue Japanese government

Sometimes it seems that all the activism in Japan is focussed on suing the government or corporations for abuses of human rights and the environment. The cases all turn into epics, lasting years, and often decades, because of the glacial speed of the Japanese legal system, and it must take considerable dedication to get involved. So I salute the people who have kept on the agenda sex slavery organised by the Japanese government in the 1930s and 40s ('comfort women'), censorship of school textbooks by the government in recent years, and a bunch of other things that elites in Japan would rather no one mentioned.
Here's the latest example, from an article in the Japan Times. The case has been brought by people now in their 50s, 60s and 70s who allege that the Japanese government abandoned them after they were separated from their parents as the Japanese occupation of China ended in August 1945.

18 more war orphans sue for redress

Eighteen Japanese separated from their parents in China at the end of World War II filed a lawsuit Friday with the Kyoto District Court to seek compensation from the government for failing to help them come to Japan earlier and to properly support them after they resettled here.

They follow 90 other so-called war orphans who filed a similar suit with the Kyoto court last September. Additional suits have been filed at 11 other district courts nationwide.

The latest plaintiffs range in age from their 50s to 70s. Those actually born in Japan hail from Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka prefectures. The 18 are each seeking 33 million yen in compensation.

"We could not come to Japan for a long time because of the state's negligence, and we have not been able to receive its full support after coming to Japan," they said in the complaint.

The government defines war orphans as Japanese nationals who, at the ages of 13 or younger, were separated from their parents or guardians in China in the chaotic days in August 1945.

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