News / Asia

Chinese Court Orders Japanese Boat Seized for Wartime Compensation

FILE - Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 2014.
FILE - Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida delivers a speech during the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 2014.
A court in Shanghai has ordered the seizure of a Japanese ship as reparation for a debt dating back to the 1930s. The move is considered the first confiscation of Japanese assets in a lawsuit over wartime compensation.

The Shanghai Maritime Court had previously ordered Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines to pay close to $30 million for having lost two ships that its predecessor, Daido Kaiun, rented from a Chinese company in 1936.

During World War II, the Japanese government expropriated the ships, which later sank at sea.

On Sunday, the court announced that it had seized the container ship Baosteel Emotion, stationed in Zhejiang province.

The court said that if Mitsui does not pay its debt the vessel will be disposed of according to the law.

Strained relations

Relations between Japan and China have been strained in recent years by territorial disputes and growing nationalism.

On Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida protested the Shanghai court's decision and warned of future diplomatic and economic fallout.

"This could even threaten the spirit of the part of the 1972 Japan-Sino joint statement which normalized diplomatic relations between Japan and China. I also feel a deep anxiety that economic activity between Japan and China will shrink because of this," said Kishida.

The Chinese foreign ministry says the case is just a regular business contract dispute and has nothing to do with wartime compensation.

More than 40 years ago, Japan and China signed an agreement to normalize relations. In it, China renounced its demands for war reparations from Japan in the interests of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese peoples.

Seeking compensation

The provision has caused controversy over the years, as people in China have attempted to seek compensation for crimes such as forced labor, sexual slavery and lost assets.

Lawsuits filed in Japan have been rejected, and Chinese courts have also been reluctant to accept such cases.

In a recent rare case, a court in Beijing accepted a lawsuit on behalf of Chinese laborers exploited by Japanese companies during World War II.

Liu Jiangyong, a professor of China-Japan relations at Beijing's Tsinghua University, said such litigation does not contradict China's diplomatic agreement with Japan. He said that while the Chinese government has forfeited the right to ask for reparations, there are legitimate demands from individuals who suffered losses during the war.

“The Japanese government and the companies who at that time caused the injuries should give compensation according to the law and in a humanitarian spirit," said Liu. "This is not a war reparation, this would be a civil compensation with wartime as the background of the offense.”

Many in China believe that the Japanese government has not atoned for the abuses perpetrated during its militarist past.

On Monday, in a move strongly protested by China, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent ritual offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine.

The monument honors Japanese war dead, including 14 convicted World War II war criminals.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
April 21, 2014 1:37 PM
The sun is setting, on the Island of "the rising sun" because they have no friends in Asia, only business partners, and their Asian neighbors are growing financially stronger, while Japan with few natural resources, grows weaker... BEHIND the Asian countries smiles are still anger and bitterness, for the atrocities committed by the Japanese, and Japan no longer possesses the military forces they were once feared for.. -- YES, the sun is setting, on "the Island of the rising sun" even while they try to deny it...

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
April 21, 2014 2:01 PM
It is true that the Japan did commit war crimes in World War Two in many countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Burma etc...

Same as Germany, Italy, Japan had change, and some Asian countries did let the bygones be bygones.. on the other hand China currently uses the excuse of the past victim image to divert the attention from the new aggressive China who would like to invade the sea & islands from southeast Asian countries.

Don't forget , in the 1979 invasion of Vietnam, China committed war crimes in many Vietnamese towns, would China compensate for its crime?
Currently, China still occupy Tibet & the Tibetans burn themselves almost daily to protest the occupation. Is China going to compensate the Tibetans ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid