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Japan party introduces bill to compensate Korean, Taiwanese war criminals

[JURIST] An opposition party in Japan [JURIST news archive] has introduced a bill in Japan's House of Representatives [official website, in Japanese] that would provide compensation for Korean and Taiwanese nationals convicted of war crimes [backgrounder] committed while working for the Japanese military occupying their territories during World War II. Under the plan proposed by the Democratic Party of Japan [party website, in English], war criminals and their families could receive up to three million Yen. Many of the convicted war criminals were pressed into service by the occupying Japanese army and forced to work as prison guards. Following the war, they were tried and convicted of war crimes by the US-backed International Military Tribunal for the Far East [charter text], which regarded them as Japanese citizens. After the war, Japan stripped people from its former-colonies of Japanese citizenship, denying them military pensions and other official benefits. AFP has more. Japan Today has local coverage.

Historically, Japanese courts have been reluctant to grant wartime compensation claims. In September 2007, a Japanese district court rejected [JURIST report] demands for compensation by 22 South Korean women, as well as the surviving relatives of other women, who were forced to work [JURIST news archive] at a Japanese military hardware factory during World War II. In July 2007, the Japanese Sapporo High Court upheld a 2004 lower court decision [JURIST report] rejecting a similar lawsuit brought by Chinese plaintiffs who say they were forced to work as slave laborers in mines and factories.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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