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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 04:53 GMT 05:53 UK
Japan rejects Chinese war claim
Chinese plaintiffs and their supporters outside Tokyo court, 19/4/05
Most Chinese plaintiffs have their cases rejected
A group of 45 elderly Chinese who were forced to work as slave labourers in Japan during World War II have lost their bid for compensation.

A court in the Japanese prefecture of Fukuoka dismissed the men's lawsuit, which sought a total of 1bn yen ($8.5m) in compensation.

The plaintiffs had also demanded a written apology in both Japanese and Chinese newspapers.

Japan's ties with China are already frayed after a series of disputes.

The two countries have clashed over access to energy reserves, as well Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where some war criminals are honoured along with Japan's war dead.

Forced labour

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were forcibly taken from China to Fukuoka prefecture in Japan between 1943 and 1944.

They were made to work without pay at locations such as the Mitsui Miike mine and Mitsubishi Iizuka mine, according to Kyodo news agency.

About 40,000 Chinese people were sent to work in Japan in the latter years of the war.

Japan has generally refused to pay damages to Chinese claimants, despite repeated accusations that it has not properly atoned for its wartime brutality.

Officials claim the issue was settled on a bilateral basis as part of post-war treaties.


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