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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 06:27 GMT 07:27 UK
Japan 'war orphans' lose case
A group of Japanese war orphan plaintiffs, carrying the portrait of a dead plaintiff, with their supporters and lawyers, head to Osaka district court in Osaka, western Japan, Wednesday, July 6, 2005
The plaintiffs say they plan to appeal the ruling
A Japanese court has ruled that 32 Japanese citizens abandoned as children in China at the end of World War II are not entitled to compensation.

Their parents were killed or forced to abandon them when they fled China for Japan at the end of the war in 1945.

The plaintiffs said Japan failed to repatriate them early enough and that they are now entitled to compensation.

But an Osaka court has ruled that it had no obligation to help the former orphans achieve financial independence.

Thousands of Japanese children were left behind in north-east China amid the fighting and confusion of the war's end.

They were looked after by Chinese parents and grew up as though Chinese nationals, before the Japanese government started repatriating them in the 1980s.

Wednesday's court decision was the first ruling in a series of lawsuits brought by the repatriated individuals.

It affected 32 of 111 plaintiffs who brought a 2003 case before the Osaka court.


Lawyers for the group said they planned to appeal against the decision.

One of the plaintiffs, Toshio Matsuda, vowed to "continue our fight".

"The decision ignores the reality that we face," he said.

The group, who are seeking 33m yen (168,336, $295,700) each, argued that because Tokyo encouraged their families to leave north-eastern China, it had a responsibility to repatriate them.

Other groups of people left behind have filed suits in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima.

More than 2,400 have returned to Japan since the 1980s following the normalisation of ties between the two countries in 1972.

But most have found integration into Japanese society difficult.

Many were shunned by their relatives and now survive on welfare.

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19 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
The row over Japan's past and future
16 Apr 05 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Japanese 'war orphans' sue
24 Sep 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Japan
05 Jul 05 |  Country profiles


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