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Mitsubishi Materials settles with Chinese mine labourers over forced labour in WWII

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3 June 2016

Mitsubishi Materials agreement represents a step to improve the still strained Japan-China relations

Author: Austin Ramzy, New York Times (USA)

"Mitsubishi Materials Apologizes to Chinese World War II Laborers," 1 Jun 2016

…Mitsubishi Materials apologized…to Chinese workers who were forced to work in its predecessor company’s mines during World War II, and it signed an agreement…to compensate three surviving former laborers. The agreement represents a rare step toward alleviating lingering anger over Japan’s brutal occupation of China…Nearly 40,000 Chinese men were taken to Japan in the final years of World War II and forced to work in slavelike conditions for 35 companies. Roughly one in five died because of maltreatment…The Mitsubishi Materials agreement is intended to be a template for future settlements…Mitsubishi Materials said in a statement that it “continues to seek a comprehensive and permanent solution with all of its former laborers and their families.” The company said it would set up a fund to build memorials at the site of the mines…The settlement was announced last year, before the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. China held numerous events last year to mark the anniversary of the end of the war, which some observers said was symbolic of the continuing rivalry between the two countries…[Also refers to Kajima Corporation and Nishimatsu Construction.]

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3 June 2016

Mitsubishi Materials settles with Chinese forced laborers

Author: Shuichi Yutaka, Nozomu Hayashi, and Daisuke Nishimura, Asahi Shimbun (Japan)

Mitsubishi Materials Corp. reached an out-of-court settlement…with three former Chinese laborers forced to work in Japan under harsh conditions during World War II. The settlement…could mark a major turning point…because…[m]ore than 3,700 Chinese workers are said to have been brought to work at the mines operated by that company during World War II…Mitsubishi Materials and the former laborers agreed on two major points. The first…the settlement would seek to serve as "a comprehensive and final resolution" of the issue…[T]he second…the three who signed the agreement would be considered representatives of all those who were forced to work for Mitsubishi Materials…The large number of potential settlement cases could affect the standing of other Japanese companies who face similar lawsuits…Mitsubishi Materials accepted its historical responsibility as the employer, and expressed an apology…[O]ne of the former laborers said, "I am very happy. We continued our efforts for several decades so it was not easy..."…Various groups representing the former workers had filed lawsuits…Five of the six groups agreed…to accept the settlement proposal…[Also refers to Kajima Corp., Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co., and Nishimatsu Construction Co.]

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+ 日本語 - Hide

Author: 東京新聞

第二次大戦中に中国人を強制連行して日本国内の鉱山などで過酷な労働をさせた問題をめぐり、中国の元労働者ら が…三菱マテリアル…と和解した。三菱側は歴史的責任と「謝罪」を表明。被害者一人当たり…約百七十万円…を支払う。対象と なる元労働者は三千人以上で民間企業の戦後補償では最大規模となる。中国人の強制連行にかかわった当時の日本企業は三十五社に上り、今回の和解が今後の戦後補償に影響を与える可能性がある。…三菱マテリアルの木村光常務執行役員…は「皆さまの人権が侵害された 歴史的事実を率直かつ誠実に認め、痛切なる反省の意を表する」と謝罪。元労働者三人と文書に調印した。…元労働者の閻玉成さん…は「和解 を喜んでいる。目を将来に向けて(日本側と)互いに平和的に共存したい」と評価した。…残る一団体は三菱側が「歴史事実を直視していない」と主張し、中国の裁判所に提訴して争っている。

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