The victims, including 48 new plaintiffs from Shanghai Municipality and Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Liaoning, Jilin provinces and 15 who filed the same lawsuit in 2014, demanded a proper apology and compensation from Mitsubishi Materials on Wednesday at Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court.
“We refuse to accept the Japanese company’s reconciliation deal,” said 91-year-old Liu Shili, who was forced to work for a year at a coal mine operated by Mitsubishi Mining Corp., as Mitsubishi Materials was known at the time. “We will use the law to hold the Japanese accountable for their wartime crimes and fight for our rights.”
Most of the forced laborers have already passed but their families fight on in their memory.
“The settlement deal is unfair to my late father and thousands of other victims like him,” said Pan Ying, whose father Pan Jingxiu had been suing the Japanese company for 20 years.
Mitsubishi Materials Corp. was one of dozens of Japanese companies that forced Chinese to work during World War II. Earlier this month, the company offered 100,000 yuan (15,000 U.S. dollars) to each of the Chinese victims and their families.
The deal was signed in Beijing with three former workers representing the company’s more than 3,000 Chinese victims of forced labor.
Pan said the settlement was unacceptable. “We demand real compensation, and will carry on our battle with the support of our country and our legal aid team.”
Around 40,000 Chinese were forced to work in Japan during the war. Of these slave workers, nearly 7,000 died in Japan. Only nine have survived until today.
Thirty-five Japanese companies are believed to have been involved in forced labor from 1937 to 1945, when Japan invaded China.