TOKYO, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A group of former Chinese laborers, who were forced to work in Japan during World War II, vowed to appeal for high court ruling on Wednesday after their damages suit was dismissed by a district court earlier in the day.
"Was it legal that the Japanese government forced us to come to Japan and work like slaves? " Cui Guangting said at a rally in Tokyo Wednesday evening.
"We will appeal for justice. If we could not make it, our sons will continue to sue," said 82-year-old Cui.
Earlier in the day, the Fukuoka District Court dismissed the suit against the Japanese government and two Japanese companies filed by 45 former Chinese laborers who were forced to work in mines in southern Fukuoka prefecture during World War II.
The plaintiffs filed the suit against the Japanese government, Mitsui Mining Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. (then Mitsubishi Mining Corp.) in February 2003, seeking 23 million yen (about 194,900 U.S. dollars) in compensation per person, and demanding that an apology be published in both Japanese and Chinese newspapers.
The court decided that the policy of forced labor was illegal. However, it held that the plaintiffs' right to request reparation has expired 20 years after the illegal act was committed and rejected their demand for compensation.
Onoyama, chief of the Japanese lawyer team for the plaintiffs, said the ruling was "disappointing". He said his team would urge the Japanese government and companies to admit their past deeds, apologize and make compensations.
"We are confident of the future," Li Haiyan, a Chinese lawyer for the plaintiffs said at the rally, "seeing so many Japanese friends supporting us."
A total of 8,226 Chinese people were forced to leave home and work in mines by the Mitsui Mining Co. and Mitsubishi Mining Corp during World War II. Among them, 1,540 laborers were tortured to death. However, the two companies hardly paid any money to the laborers but received compensation from the Japanese government.
A report from the Japanese Foreign Ministry showed that 38,935 Chinese people were forcibly taken to work in 135 mines and ports across Japan during WWII. Enditem