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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid