Friday, May 29, 2015Friday, May 29, 2015

Beijing court to hear Japanese wartime forced labour suit

Published on Mar 19, 2014 12:52 PM
Relatives hold portraits of Chinese victims of forced labour during World War Two, as they stand outside a court in Beijing on Feb 26, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - A Beijing court has for the first time agreed to hear a lawsuit filed by 40 Chinese citizens demanding compensation from two Japanese companies for forced labour during World War II, their lawyer said.

Mr Kang Jian, an attorney for the plaintiffs, confirmed to AFP the decision on Tuesday by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, which follows several failed efforts to bring such cases in both China and Japan.

The move comes in defiance of Tokyo, which argues such cases are barred by international agreement, and with relations between the Asian giants at their lowest point in decades.

Beijing regularly accuses Japan of failing to properly acknowledge and learn from its aggression during World War II, while Tokyo says its neighbours use history as a diplomatic stick to beat it with.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!