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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Japanese 'war orphans' sue
Hundreds of Japanese orphans left behind in China at the end of World War II are suing the Japanese Government.

Their parents were forced to abandon them when they fled the Japanese puppet state of Manchuria in 1945.

The 612 plaintiffs say Japan failed to repatriate them early enough. They did not start coming home until 1981.

They are seeking 33m yen ($294,600) each. Another 600 "war orphans" filed a similar suit year.

The plaintiffs filed suits in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima.

They argue that because Tokyo encouraged their families to leave north-eastern China, it had a responsibility to repatriate them.

Many were adopted by Chinese families and were too young to remember their real relatives' names or faces.

When they did return, many said they found it very difficult to resettle in Japan as they lacked language skills and cultural knowledge.

Each war orphan receives a monthly welfare payment of 20-30,000 yen ($178-268) - one-tenth the average monthly living costs of a single person in Tokyo.

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