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Japanese Court Rejects Compensation for WWII Chinese Germ Warfare Victims

A Japanese court Tuesday rejected a lawsuit brought by 180 Chinese citizens demanding compensation for Japan's World War II-era germ warfare program.

The plaintiffs had demanded $89,000 each from Tokyo, as well as a public apology. Tokyo's High Court ruled that the plaintiffs could not receive direct compensation from the government, despite acknowledging the existence of the germ warfare laboratory known as Unit 731.

Historians say Unit 731, established in northeastern China in 1931, killed more than 200,000 people in experiments with biological weapons such as anthrax, bubonic plague and cholera in the 1930s and 1940s.

Relations between Japan and China have soured in recent months over Japan's apparent failure to own up to its brutal wartime occupation of China.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.