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S Korean forced laborers during Japan's colonial rule win 1st legal victory

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@KariHaruka They would not have been there if Japan hadn't forced them to be there. Instead Japan used such people as a human shield.

There is a difference between Japan and the U.S though. We don't deny what we did. War is a terrible thing, it's monstrous. No matter what, you only inflict more pain by denying what was done.

Japan should pay these people and their families. Hopefully the forced sex slaves will have another day in court.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

More than 40 Japanese companies used forced labor during WWII. Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsui Mining, Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.,Nippon Sharyo, Showa Denko Kajima Corp. and Aso Mining Corp. are only a few of them.

In her book Unjust Enrichment, in a chapter called "Mitsubishi: Empire of Exploitation," leading researcher Linda Goetz Holmes writes: "Mitsubishi occupies a unique place in the history of corporate Japan's use of POW slave labor during World War II. This company built, owned, and operated at least seventeen of the merchant 'hellships' that transported prisoners to their assigned destinations; and this company profited from prisoner labor over a larger range of territory than any other."

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Will Japan ever man up? Don't think so...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

These issues have long been debated in the UK. Even at the time of Dresden Bishop Bell was a vocal critic of carpet bombing and MacMillan, Powell and others questioned Britain's conduct in Kenya in the late fifties. More recently there was the debate over the monument to Bomber Harris. In Japan, historians who are critical of Japan's role in WW2 are often the subject of intimidation. I don't deny there are apologists for colonialism ( Thatcher a high profile example ), but the debate is there and can be conducted without fear of reprisals. I personally believe Britain should have compensated many of its victims, but the point I was making is Japan hasn't even reached the point of debating these issues.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

YuriOtani This is exactly the 'Well, you did it as well!' reaction I was talking about. All historical issues should be debated and dealt with on their own merits without evasive and half-cooked comparisons. Yes, let's debate all issues including your example. The issue is forced labour - let's focus on that exclusively for now.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Now the Korean government can take all of the assets of the Japanese companies in Korea. China can do the same thing. The good thing is the Koreans can only take what they have access.

This should be good to set back Japanese Korean relations, lets punish Japan forever. The sins of our ancestors become our sins.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Which country's Supreme Court is this article referring to?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The sins of our ancestors become our sins.

Yuri,

Not necessarily, if Japan wud admit & deal with its history it wudnt a problem today, but Japan has chosen to keep its head in the sand all these decades so sadly YES the sins of your ancestors HAVE become your sins, but it didnt have to be that way it was a concious choice that JAPAN MADE.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

YuriOtani The point seems to be that many Japanese still don't accept any sins were committed or justify them with a 'Well, you did it as well!'. Can you look someone straight in the eye and say that people forced into labour, often in inhumane conditions, don't deserve some compensation?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The West are just as guilty, and don't get me started on the British colonial rule in Africa. Basically this is all about monetary compensations. If these claims were legal, the Korean govt. would be the first to pressure Japan through severance of ties. But that they are not doing so. What does it tell you?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

".........Desiring to settle problems regarding the property of both countries and their peoples and the claims between both countries and between their peoples.....

The High Contracting Parties confirm that the problems concerning property, rights, and interests of the two High Contracting Parties and their peoples (including juridical persons) and the claims between the High Contracting Parties and between their peoples, including those stipulated in Article IV(a) of the Peace Treaty with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco on September 8, 1951, have been settled completely and finally......"

Me thinks the Korean government is witholding the Agreement even to the Supreme Court.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@kariharuka LOL impretty sure it was Japan that bombed pearl harbour, Japan that brutally colonised Korean, China, Singapore, japan that treated its POWs like lower class animals, the Plantiffs wouldnt have been in Hiroshima if they werent forced to do so! japan always playing the victim card when more 10 times the amount of asians/allies suffered under Japanese rule. you need to study "THE REAL HISTORY OF WW2" before making stupid comments.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Of course thy are entitled to compensation, forced labour is slavery. Profits were made from the labour of these people,, pay up.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mimitchy--yes Japan was awesome some time ago. We were not victims since we defended ourselves from the European imperialism in the past but now we are. You sound like a victim to me. British and other Europeans should pay for their imperialism before demanding justice from Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

However, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state and individuals were separate entities and the 1965 treaty did not affect individuals’ rights.

A rare statement of simple logic flows from an East Asian Court. Its about damn time. By the time this leads to more logic, and more importantly, ACTION, all former slaves will be dead.

Which country's Supreme Court is this article referring to?

South Korea's. It changes nothing in Japan. All it means is that the South Korean government can now play the role of Super Hypocrite, where it keeps the money of the South Korean victims while simultaneously pressuring Japan to pay them.

Make no mistake though, the South Korean government and the Japanese government are equally wrong regardless. They made a deal with eachother to keep the money a secret, and thereby both set the victims to chasing their tails for 40 years. The politicians involved on both sides should be stripped and horse whipped in the middle of town.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@tomoki

Mimitchy--yes Japan was awesome some time ago. We were not victims since we defended ourselves from the European imperialism in the past but now we are. You sound like a victim to me. British and other Europeans should pay for their imperialism before demanding justice from Japan.

Ah yes, the same old "you, too" argument... Two wrongs don't make a right, and Japan still just wants to justify, make excuses and whitewash their history. Japan is still not sorry for the atrocities that they've done during the war, they still genuinely believe that they were the victims!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ah yes, the same old "you, too" argument... Two wrongs don't make a right, and Japan still just wants to justify, make excuses and whitewash their history. Japan is still not sorry for the atrocities that they've done during the war, they still genuinely believe that they were the victims!

but isn't that the argument those Korean nuke victims are relying on?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The sins of our ancestors become our sins.

Unfortunately your ancestors refused to deal with it and acknowledge their wrongdoing, so yes, you have inherited the debt. Didnt have to be this way. And even today there are people denying that any wrongdoing happened - looks like your children and grandchildren will still be paying the price for that too.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@TA I don't where you are from but if you are from US, England, Holland, Spain, etc. how much guilt are you feeling about your colonial history? I am not justifying what Japan did in the past. I just don't want to see some people acting as though they are innocent. Japanese were just lucky enough to avoid the victimization by European "colonization," possibly till the end of WWII.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In the UK there is a full and open debate about Britain's colonial past,

Not really. In fact, its an issue many British people dont like to talk about because there is a conflict of values involved that people find difficult to come to terms with: present day values vs. the accepted values of past times. And what compensation, specifically, have the Brits given to their past colonies or the people of Dresden for that matter? This applies to other great colonizing countries such as France, Spain, Portugal and Holland.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The South Korean government is on such a bender that they recently seized the private property of the descendants of Koreans who "collaborated" with Japan in 1890.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As a Frenchman, and man from Earth, I see really no point in trying to sue someone/something when rule of war applied was rule of the strongest, that was in fact survival of the fittest. Anyone has some ancestors that has been a slave of somebody or butchered for no reason when no democratic rules existed. Don't apply rules of the present to the past! It is otherwise becoming a never-ending story... Only greed leads those actions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tomoki - I'm all in favour of an open debate including historians of all points of view. However, your examples of Mishima and Ishihara are precisely the reason why the voices of the far right are not taken seriously. Ishihara's posturing denials or Tamogami's academically rigorous reason for believing Japanese atrocities to be fiction ( Japanese people wouldn't do such a thing ) do you and your fellow Japanese a disservice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This just in today, with the Koreans' perspective:

http://view.koreaherald.com/kh/view.php?ud=20120527000084&cpv=0:

'The Supreme Court also challenged the Japanese view that the 1965 agreement invalidated all compensation claims of individual Korean victims. The court rightly pointed out that the agreement was not about Japan's compensation of Koreans for its wrongdoings during the colonial era.

The agreement, it said, was designed to settle debts and claims between the two countries on the government and private levels. The agreement defines its nature by stating that it was intended to "settle problems regarding the property of both countries and their peoples and the claims between both countries and between their peoples." '

So the scope was limited. Also:

'The top court also refuted the argument of the two Japanese corporations that they were not obliged to pay reparations because they were different entities from the wartime companies that forced Koreans to work for them.'

And:

'Following the court's ruling, the Tokyo government reiterated its position that the 1965 agreement resolved all compensation claims of Korean forced laborers. It made it clear that it had no intention of helping the plaintiffs collect reparations.

To further pursue their claims, the plaintiffs need support from the Seoul government. Yet the government suggested that it would not take up the cases and take diplomatic action against the Tokyo government on behalf of the plaintiffs because its official stance is that the 1965 agreement covers compensation for forced Korean laborers.'

So there you have it. Court's on their side, but not the Japanese government - or their own government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@KariHaruka

Urm you might want to go to America about that one! I'm pretty certain it was the yanks and not Mitsubishi who dropped that nuke -___-

Oh, ok, so from your comparison, what you are saying is that, Korea Attacked Japan, and Japan's only recourse and hence, only way to end the war with Korea, was to Colonize them and Force their people into Slave laborers...?

Yes, Brilliant and Astute Point, Good Comparison....... LOL...

No wonder Japan is beside itself on these issues, with that line of thinking... LOL...

After All, Japan is really the victim here... LOL....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Yuri

How about asking the Americans for money? They used Korea as a buffer against the communists. So all of that stuff you claim about Japan applies to them as well.

Every once in a while, you actually make some sense, but then you totally blow it all away with something so ridiculous like this...

First of all, this news article is about Korea, and Japan, America isn't anywhere in this story, so you are merely trying to muddy the waters, because there is NO excuse for what Japan is trying to do.

Secondly, Last time I checked, after ww2 (you know that war that Japan started...?) after the war, Korea was split down the middle, USSR & U.S. sides... and I'll bet 99.9999% of the people living in South Korea, wouldn't trade places with anyone from the North for 2 seconds... They were a recipient of Freedom, Democracy and Prosperity, JUST LIKE Japan, Except, The Korean's REALLY WERE VICTIMS Of Japan!

And all you do, with this attitude of, Oh, well America did it too, so We're ALL WAR Criminals BS, doesn't move Japan, once inch closer to normalizing anything... AND NO America Never did anywhere NEAR any of the things Japan Did, not even close...

This never ending spirit of "頑固 プライド"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They must address this issue and heal the wounds… we urge Japan to take the Supreme Court’s ruling seriously.”

LOL. Never happen. Japan prefers to pretend there are no wounds to heal. Afterall, they were the real victims. Right?

-1 ( +8 / -8 )

Some of the nine plaintiffs had launched lawsuits in Hiroshima, in 1995 demanding compensation from Mitsubishi for injuries suffered during the 1945 atomic bombing.

Urm you might want to go to America about that one! I'm pretty certain it was the yanks and not Mitsubishi who dropped that nuke -___-

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The (ROK) Supreme Court also rejected Japanese rulings that it was legal for Japan to mobilize and conscript Koreans because the annexation of Korea was legally achieved.

The court said this view “collides with our constitution” which regards colonial rule as forcible occupation.

these Koreans are brilliant, what other country colonized by western powers spells out such a bold notion that contradicts long standing principles of international law and major municipal legal systems in their constitution? Japan trembles before you Korea!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In her book Unjust Enrichment, in a chapter called "Mitsubishi: Empire of Exploitation," leading researcher Linda Goetz Holmes writes: "Mitsubishi occupies a unique place in the history of corporate Japan's use of POW slave labor during World War II. This company built, owned, and operated at least seventeen of the merchant 'hellships' that transported prisoners to their assigned destinations; and this company profited from prisoner labor over a larger range of territory than any other."

To think that Japan was actually awesome some time long before my birth brings tears to my eyes. We sure weren't victims. No sir, we have British and other Europeans demanding justice from OUR IMPERIALISM!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You sound like a victim to me.

Heisei generation bro. We've got so much to lose but little or nothing to gain.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Tomoki Just a point on History. In the UK there is a full and open debate about Britain's colonial past, war conduct ( the firebombing of Dresden to name one ) and it's role in the slave trade. Can you honestly say there is a full and open debate in Japan? Japan's habit of brushing its past under the rug plays a large part in issues such as this.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The court's rule has reflected the political movement of Japan is leaning leftwards. In the past when LDP was in charge such verdict was totally impossible and unimaginable! So keep go go go...the Japanese leftist political factions especially the communist party of Japan! Only the criminalrization of 'war crimes denial' or 'colonial artrocities denial' behaviour will help saving Japan out of the 'endless blaming' by neighbours! And only the demolition of US/Japan alliances will save Japan to a better security in east asia! This verdict was definately a good start of 'de-rightistrizatiions'! Japan is start going to the correct direction that will ease the hatred from neighbours which has haunted everyone for decades!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The DPJ's rule of present Japan is a leftist one and thats why this legal victory for 'Korean forced labour' comes true! Political interferences and obstructions were the major reasons why Japan always denial of war times or colonial artrocities! The LDP and Ishihara's extreme rightists were the 'black hand' that was responsible! There were still many rightists out there that obstructing the justice department to make apologies and compensations to wartime victims! Japan should be run by the communist party to purges those rightists and abolishing of alliance with US, only a fully remorsed and sincerelly apologized Japan will be trusted by asia countries and no more kicking up territoral disputes with neighbours! The former east germany (GDR) was a model of this kind!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

But contrary to the impression many people here seem to have, the debate has been preempted by the groups of professionals (teachers, university professors, journalists, etc) that are Left-leaning, who held mostly negative view of Japanese “recent” history. They tend to share the same criticisms directed toward Japan by Koreans and Chinese. In the elementary school I attended some decades ago, more than 80% of the teachers belonged to Communist party. The Right-leaning voices have been mostly silenced in academic institutions and media, etc, obviously with some exceptions (Mishima, Ishihara, and others). The conservative voices have not been taken seriously among intellectuals, various types of elite. However, this seems to be changing gradually today.

I don't think that there are actually many Japanese people who feel remorseful or regrettable about the war atrocities. And that's only because they are mostly unaware of their own history. Or maybe they're just wilfully ignorant... who knows.

Anyway, saying that this all just a matter of differing opinions is a bit wrong. Historical facts are historical facts. No political group or ideology should attempt to whitewash and revise history.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't think that there are actually many Japanese people who feel remorseful or regrettable about the war atrocities. And that's only because they are mostly unaware of their own history.

Most Japanese have no reason to feel remorse or regret. Most Japanese were no alive at the time of the war or were mere children.

The only shame Japanese of today bear is to be found in ignorance of history and denial of it. And also there is shame on any who deny that the victims should be paid by Japan ASAP. Any Japanese who complains that the South Korean government is just being selfish. The Japanese government should pay the victims, then demand return of the money from the South Korean government. After all, the Japanese government keep the money a secret too, so they are just as much a part of the scam.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Maybe, just maybe, Japan owes them something, but certainly not grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japanese were just lucky enough to avoid the victimization by European "colonization," possibly till the end of WWII.

japan avoided being a victim, but then became a perpetrator. it's victims being china, korea and southeast asia.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

impretty sure it was Japan that bombed pearl harbour, Japan that brutally colonised Korean, China, Singapore, japan that treated its POWs like lower class animals

Um..you see, most sane people who are not sullen with vengeance this green world tend to have problems in justifying the indiscriminate vaporisation and immolation of a few hundred thousand people with the infliction of traditional imperialist malpractices. It would certainly be nicer next time for the US to resort to methods that don't harm their allies or anyone who doesn't truly deserve it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Did anyone actually expect anything different from the Korean Supreme Court? If this was from the Hague I would think it would carry more weight.

Japan will continue to hide behind it's claims that all compensation was paid and nothing but talk, talk, talk, talk, talk is ever going to happen.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Did anyone actually expect anything different from the Korean Supreme Court?

Don't tell me you actually expected them to change decades of precedent all the sudden. I don't think so.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Jimizo, sure I can look them in the face and say it is not my problem. My cousins in the north made a real mess but stuff happens. How about asking the Americans for money? They used Korea as a buffer against the communists. So all of that stuff you claim about Japan applies to them as well.

I do not see this as a legal victory at all. That court has no jurisdiction over Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the majority of Japanese, including the government, refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing by Japanese imperial forces during WW2.

Really? Where did you find the time to ask them all? What about past grovelling apologies already given by various Japanese prime ministers? What about reparations already paid to Korea, China and the Philippines (among others)? How many times are people going to spout their simplistic stereotyping delusions? " All Japanese people know nothing about their history" "All Japanese people think Japan did nothing wrong during the war" "...in Japan just deathly silence" Please. And all this coming from someone who insists that British are facing up to their "various crimes" now "in an open and objective manner"! These "crimes" stretch back over 500 years, so at least give the Japanese another few hundred years to be open and objective. P.S. Open debate is wonderful but meaningless for the victims and/or their families, so when is your Queen going to apologize to the people of Dresden? And when is the British government going to pay reparations to the people of Dresden?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This has nothing to do with Japanese “guilt.” This is the issue of Korean’s failure to live up to the agreement officially made between two nations and the Korean government’s avoidance of responsibility for their own citizens.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The primary issue is admittance of guilt, the majority of Japanese, including the government, refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing by Japanese imperial forces during WW2. For those doing the 'whatboutery' thing and pointing at Euorpean colonial guilt, an almost mirror debate about crimes in colonial Africa has being going on in the UK media over the last year. Now ex-maumau fighters are suing the UK government to Court in the UK. The debate is open and happening, the evidence suggests various crimes and coverups by UK colonial forces and its aftermath is now being dealt with in an open and objective manner. Back in japan just deathly silence...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

the Plantiffs wouldnt have been in Hiroshima if they werent forced to do so!

the Plaintiffs wouldn't have existed if their parents didn't bang each other, where is this causation issue going?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I must agree with the fact that there has been no open debate about the history especially after the Russo-Japan war in Japan. But contrary to the impression many people here seem to have, the debate has been preempted by the groups of professionals (teachers, university professors, journalists, etc) that are Left-leaning, who held mostly negative view of Japanese “recent” history. They tend to share the same criticisms directed toward Japan by Koreans and Chinese. In the elementary school I attended some decades ago, more than 80% of the teachers belonged to Communist party. The Right-leaning voices have been mostly silenced in academic institutions and media, etc, obviously with some exceptions (Mishima, Ishihara, and others). The conservative voices have not been taken seriously among intellectuals, various types of elite. However, this seems to be changing gradually today.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

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