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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs