News

Tokyo Court Rules Against Chinese World War II Victims

Against a backdrop of violent anti-Japanese demonstrations across China, a Japanese court has rejected the latest claim filed by Chinese victims of Japanese atrocities more than 60 years ago. The plaintiffs left the courtroom displaying a banner that read "Unjust verdict."

The 10 Chinese survivors of Japanese atrocities, including the 1937 massacre in Nanjing, had filed suit asking for compensation.

The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday said that compensation for war crimes is a bilateral issue between countries and individuals do not have the standing to bring such cases to court.

Jan Ting is a law professor at the Tokyo campus of Temple University, which is based in the United States. He says this decision is no surprise. Japanese judges have consistently ruled against those seeking compensation for Japanese actions in Asia before and during World War Two.

"This is predictable given the state of Japanese law," he said. "Normally these are bilateral issues, but if a country wants to they can open themselves up to liability and it's not unusual for countries to adopt statutes that allow individual parties to bring claims against whatever other parties, including government institutions, they consider to be liable."

China has seen a wave of often violent anti-Japanese demonstrations over the past few weeks. The protests were sparked, in part, by new Japanese textbooks that downplay atrocities Tokyo's troops committed in Asia in the early 20th century. The protests and an exchange of bitter comments from both governments have brought relations between China and Japan to their lowest level in 30 years.

Professor Ting says his Japanese students are quite ignorant of what their country did in China in the last century. At one point, Japan controlled more than half of China, and its occupation was brutal - with hundreds of thousands dying from the ravages of war, disease and hunger. Thousands more were executed by Japanese troops or used as test subjects in lethal medical experiments.

Mr. Ting says students in China, however, are well versed in that history and Tuesday's court ruling could spark further demonstrations.

"I have no doubt when word of these decisions gets back to China it'll be just fuel in the fire and give people who want to hold more demonstrations and want to blame the Japanese for things more excuses for doing so," added Professor Ting.

The 1937 killing of civilians in Nanjing is one of the most contentious of the lingering historical issues between China and Japan. China says about 300,000 civilians were killed by Japanese. War crimes trials after World War II, led by the United States, documented less than half that number of victims. Japan's most nationalist textbooks, which are used by only a handful of schools, only say that "many" Chinese died in what is referred to as an "incident."

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs