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Reparation Suit by WWII POWs Is Rejected in Japan

November 27, 1998| From Associated Press

TOKYO — A Tokyo court Thursday rejected a demand for compensation by soldiers and civilians from the U.S. and other countries who were held prisoner by Japanese troops during World War II.

The lawsuit was filed in 1995 by seven plaintiffs on behalf of 20,000 members of veteran and civilian ex-prisoner organizations from Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The decision was the first handed down in Japan in a legal suit brought by former World War II POWs from Allied countries. The plaintiffs said they would appeal.

The plaintiffs demanded $22,000 each for what they claimed were violations of their rights under treaties and conventions on the treatment of war prisoners.

Presiding Judge Shigeki Inoue said in his verdict that, because of the 1951 San Francisco peace treaty--which Japan signed with its wartime enemies--individuals or groups could not seek compensation from the government. He said compensation issues must be dealt with at the government level.

Japan forced POWs to work in shipyards, mines and jungles in violation of international law.

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