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China Demands Japan Take Responsibility for WW II Atrocities

Beijing is demanding that Japan take responsibility for wartime atrocities against China after a Tokyo court rejected compensation for germ warfare victims from World War II.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says it is time for Japan to own up to biological warfare experiments in China during World War II.

In a statement read by Ada Jiang of the spokesman's office, China says it is time for the Japanese side to take "an attitude responsible for history and reality, and correctly … treat the history."

The Chinese comments come after a Japanese court this week rejected a civil suit by 180 Chinese who say their relatives were killed by Japan's experiments.

Wang Xuan, one of the plaintiffs, says the law is supposed to be on the side of those who have been wronged.

"At least we need to have our pains and sufferings recognized," he said.

The plaintiffs sought $80,000 in compensation each, along with an apology.

Their Attorney Kohken Tsuchiya says they will immediately appeal to a higher court.

The lawyer says the germ war victims are determined to pursue this case to the end. This will allow Japan to regain trust and good relationship with China and other Asian countries. Without this, he says, real peace will not come.

The court rejected the claim for compensation, saying that legally individuals cannot sue sovereign governments. But it is the first court ruling to acknowledge Japan did carry out biological warfare that historians say killed thousands of people in China. The germ weapons included cholera, bubonic plague, typhoid, and anthrax.

The suit is one of dozens filed against the government in Tokyo or Japanese companies seeking redress for Japanese conduct during the World War II and colonial era.