WWII Slave Labor Lawsuits in Japan

During World War II, tens of thousands of people in China were made to perform slave labor for the Japanese. Many of their surviving relatives have now decided that there must be some measure of justice for these inhumane crimes. They have opened lawsuits against many businesses in Japan seeking recompense for the slave labor performed by their relatives during the war in hopes of finally achieving retribution after seven decades of peace.

This issue has been known for some time, but there was some reasoning behind the delay in China’s search for compensation. Roughly forty-two years ago, it was decided by mutual agreement that China would not request any form of monetary compensation from wrongdoings performed by Japan during the war. This included the aforementioned slave labor. Many Chinese have now grown weary of upholding this agreement and have decided to seek the compensation they feel they are owed for the wrongs their families were forced to endure. A number of them feel this should have happened while their relatives were still alive, but they are especially adamant now that most of the enslaved are deceased.

China and Japan have been at odds for some time now; this issue is simply another log on the fire. Japan feels that they have already paid in full for their actions during the Second World War, but China feels they have been evasive in addressing key issues such as that of slave labor. They have also been arguing over experimentation performed on Chinese citizens, the use of Chinese females as “comfort women,” and a few key territorial disputes regarding shipping territories.

China has been firing back against what they feel is a rather aloof standpoint on the part of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. China has been releasing and digitizing numerous documents providing evidence of slave labor and other atrocities committed by Japan against China during the Second World War, in an effort to remind people what the war was like and what Chinese citizens went through as humanity began to falter in the face of catastrophe, the SBS News reports.

While many Chinese citizens are seeking compensation for the slave labor imposed on their families during the war, they are also seeking recognition for the other crimes that were committed against the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese. These lawsuits are just a small part of a long, ongoing dispute between China and Japan over many issues which extend far beyond slave labor, and it does not appear that the situation is going to completely resolve itself in the immediate future.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE