Mitsubishi compensates Chinese Forced Labor during WWII

Mitsubishi Materials Corp. is in the final stages of setting up a fund that will be used to pay compensation to thousands of Chinese people forced to labor in Japan during World War II, it was learned Sunday.


The fund represents the final hurdle in a settlement that the Japanese company reached with the main groups of Chinese claimants in June 2016. Under the agreement, Mitsubishi Materials will pay 100,000 yuan (about $15,000) to each of the victims and their families.

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In accordance with the settlement, the fund will manage the money paid from the company to the 3,765 victims, and confirm eligibility for bereaved families with inheritance rights.


The company aims to have the fund up and running by the end of the current year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the peace and friendship treaty between Japan and China, according to sources close to the arrangements.


The fund, to be called the Historical Human Rights Peace Fund, will be jointly launched by Japan and China, the sources also said. Given the number of  victims, the total settlement will reach into tens of millions of dollars.


Those from China forced to work in Japan by Mitsubishi Materials, which was known at the time as Mitsubishi Mining Corp., labored at coal mines. They were among some 39,000 Chinese nationals brought to the country against their will between 1943 and 1945 in line with a Japanese government decision to use them to compensate for a shortage of domestic labor.


Due to deprivation and the conditions of their work, 6,830 of them died. Starting in the 1990s, Chinese survivors of forced labor and their families filed a series of compensation lawsuits against the Japanese government and firms involved.


So far, Mitsubishi Materials has paid compensation to around 10 survivors. But as an organization to handle investigations regarding inheritance rights has yet to be established, no payments have been made to bereaved families.


In South Korea last week, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that ordered a Japanese steel firm to pay compensation to former forced laborers. The development brings into sharp contrast the differing approaches to wartime compensation in China and South Korea.


Reference: Mitsubishi Materials near to finalizing compensation fund for wartime forced labor in China


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