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 Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora