Plunge Pontificates

A place for my thoughts.

email me

Monday, June 27, 2005

Japan's courts slap another who suffered

Now, before posting this, let me make my feelings known. I do NOT believe in compensation for the families, relatives or decendants of victims. While they have heard the stories and had some suffering do the impairment of the one who suffered, I do not believe it rises to the level necessary for monetary reward. An apology would be nice and maybe even necessary, but I'm not a big fan of cash deals. Saying that, this suit was brought before the victim died and therefore, I feel that this verdict was unconscionable.

When 84-year-old Zhao Yulan packed luggage two weeks ago for her son heading for Tokyo for a lawsuit that two generations of her family had fought, she thought they would win.

Zhao even had planned to visit her husband's grave on the day of verdict, which was held Thursday, to tell the wartime forced laborer seized by the Japanese army that the injustice he suffered was finally redressed.

The family, however, lost the suit.

Their demand for a state compensation of 20 million Japanese yen (162,074 US dollars) from the Japanese government was denied by the high court Thursday, saying that China and Japan had not reached agreement on state compensation back in the wartime and the 20-year litigation term had expired when the forced laborer himself filed the suit in 1996.

Nice loophole guys!

So, was his treatment really so bad?

Liu Lianren, shipped to Japan at age 31, was forced to work at a mine on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido in 1944. But he escaped in April 1945 and went hiding in remote mountains on Hokkaido to avoid Japanese soldiers.

For the next 13 years, Liu lived as a "cave man" in the mountains with a saw, a cleaver, a bag and flints until he was found by a local hunter in 1958.

When he arrived home, he suffered from insomnia, arthritis, spur, round-worm disease, and almost lost the ability to talk.

"I thought he was dead," Zhao said. When Liu was taken away they were just two years into the marriage. Liu's parents were often in tears and prayed for their son's return every day, but unfortunately they did not live up to that day.

After Liu was gone, the whole family relied on her, said Zhao. She looked after the parents, funded his brothers' education, and brought up their own baby. "Our son hadn't met his dad until he was 14."

Zhao said 13 years of cave life had made Liu an entirely different person. After going through years of untold sufferings and hardships, he hesitate to talk about the past, even to his wife and his son. "But what hurt me most was he curled up wheneverhe slept. His back and legs were unable to stretch straight for the rest of his life," she said in tears.

It was the Japanese that brought all these sufferings to her family, Zhao said, and she could not believe the verdict would come down like this.

"Where is the justice? It is unfair," she said.

Justice? Justice? From the Japanese courts in a case dealing with WWII? It will never happen.