Tokyo court rejects appeal of war victims
TOKYO: The Tokyo High Court yesterday rejected compensation demands brought by Chinese victims of Japan's World War II atrocities,
The rebuffed claimants included victims of germ warfare, the Nanjing Massacre and fire bombing in Yong'an, Fuzhou Province.
In the previous ruling issued in September 1999, the Tokyo District Court, while recognizing the facts of the plaintiffs claims, also denied their claims for damages,
The plaintiffs have said they will appeal yesterday's ruling which made no comment on atrocities the claimants had suffered .
The 10 plaintiffs lodged their lawsuits in 1995, asking the Japanese Government to apologize and pay compensation for a series of atrocities during the war, including the Nanjing Massacre and lethal experiments performed on the Chinese by Japan's infamous Unit 731.
Banging her fists on the arms of her wheelchair, Guo Jinglan, 83, refused to give up her fight. "I'm determined to take care of myself and fight to the end," she said.
Guo and her husband were arrested by Japanese troops in 1941 in northeastern Heilongjiang Province on charges of conducting resistance activities.
After grim interrogation, her husband was sent to Unit 731 and never returned.
"Only by recognizing history, can Japan play a role in the international community," said Yoshio Shinozaka, a former member of Unit 731 who testified for the plaintiffs.
Commenting on the case yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "We hope the Japanese side will approach this issue in a responsible manner and handle it appropriately."
Qin said China is "studying" a suggestion by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Chinese and Japanese leaders meet at the Asia-Africa summit in Indonesia to resolve their differences.
"They (China and Japan) have lots of relationships, on all fronts - political, economic and social - and I hope those important aspects of their relationship will encourage them to resolve their differences," Annan was quoted as saying by agencies.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi yesterday shrugged off Beijing's complaints about his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honours Class A war criminals along with other war dead, Kyodo News reported on its website.
"I do not think that is the case," Koizumi told reporters when asked for his response to the complaints, adding that he does not believe his visits to the shrine have hurt Japan's diplomatic interests.
"Each country has its own history, tradition and views," Koizumi said.
Speaking at a meeting on the current Sino-Japanese situation yesterday, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said that Japan should take "concrete actions" to meet the commitment it made to face and meditate on its history of aggression.
The foreign minister also encouraged the Chinese public to translate their patriotism into enthusiasm for work and studies.
As to the recent progress in India-Pakistan relations, Qin said China welcomes the consensus reached by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on improving and developing ties.
Musharraf visited India from April 16 to 18 on his second such trip in four years.
(China Daily 04/20/2005 page1)