Mit­subishi, Chi­nese slave la­bor­ers set­tle

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES in Tokyo CHINA DAILY - AP

Mit­subishi Ma­te­ri­als Corp, one of dozens of Ja­panese com­pa­nies that used Chi­nese forced la­bor dur­ing World War II, reached a set­tle­ment cover­ing thou­sands of vic­tims on Wed­nes­day that in­cludes com­pen­sa­tion and an apol­ogy.

The deal was signed in Bei­jing with three for­mer work­ers rep­re­sent­ing the com­pany’s more than 3,000 Chi­nese vic­tims of forced la­bor, Mit­subishi Ma­te­ri­als said in a state­ment.

The vic­tims were among about 40,000 Chi­nese brought to Ja­pan in the early 1940s as forced la­bor­ers to make up for a do­mes­tic la­bor short­age. Many died due to vi­o­lence and mal­nu­tri­tion amid harsh treat­ment by the Ja­panese.

Un­der the set­tle­ment, Mit­subishi Ma­te­ri­als will pay 100,000 yuan ($15,000) to each of the Chi­nese vic­tims and their fam­i­lies. The vic­tims were forced to work at 10 coal mines op­er­ated by Mit­subishi Min­ing Corp, which was Mit­subishi Ma­te­ri­als’ name at that time.

“Forced la­bor was a se­vere crime dur­ing the Ja­panese in­va­sion and colo­nial rule”, For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Wed­nes­day. “We hope Ja­pan will face his­tory, be re­spon­si­ble and set­tle the is­sue prop­erly in a se­ri­ous man­ner.”

Mit­subishi Ma­te­ri­als said it would try to lo­cate all of the vic­tims. If all come for­ward, the com­pany’s pay­ments would to­tal 370 mil­lion yuan.

At the sign­ing cer­e­mony in Bei­jing, the com­pany “ex­pressed its sin­cere apolo­gies re­gard­ing its his­tor­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity to the for­mer la­bor­ers, and the apolo­gies were ac­cepted by the three for­mer la­bor­ers”, Mit­subishi’s state­ment said.

How­ever, Kang Jian, a Bei­jing lawyer for the al­liance of groups rep­re­sent­ing forced la­bor­ers, de­scribed the agree­ment as “in­sin­cere and fail­ing to rec­og­nize (the com­pany’s) abuse of en­slaved Chi­nese”, even though it used the word “apol­ogy”.

Forced la­bor was a se­vere crime dur­ing the Ja­panese in­va­sion and colo­nial rule.”

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