Date
25 July 2017
Hikaru Kimura, a senior executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corp., apologizes last week to former US prisoners of war for the firm's use of them as forced labor during World War II. Photo: AFP
Hikaru Kimura, a senior executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corp., apologizes last week to former US prisoners of war for the firm's use of them as forced labor during World War II. Photo: AFP

Japan firm to apologize, compensate WWII Chinese forced laborers

Japanese construction firm Mitsubishi Materials Corp. plans to apologize and pay compensation to more than 3,000 Chinese people for its use of forced labor during World War II.

The company plans to offer about US$60 million, or US$16,000 each, to the 3,765 victims, the largest number to be compensated by a Japanese firm over its wartime actions, Reuters reported, citing the Kyodo News agency. 

This is the first time a Japanese firm has decided to apologize and offer compensation to Chinese war victims, the Kyodo report said.

Last week, Mitsubishi Materials apologized for using captured US soldiers as slave laborers during the war.

Japan invaded China in 1937 and ruled parts of it with a brutal hand for the next eight years.

Chinese historians say nearly 40,000 men were taken to Japan against their will to work in mines and construction.

Survivors say living conditions were appalling. Many did not make it back to China, the Reuters report said.

Many lawsuits filed against the Japanese government and companies over wartime acts have been rejected by the country’s Supreme Court.

Japan insists that the issue of war reparations was settled by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, which formally ended the war, and by later bilateral treaties.

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