Mitsubishi Material Corp. has offered a “sincere apology” along with compensation in a proposed out-of-court settlement with Chinese plaintiffs who were forced into labor during World War II.
The Asahi Shimbun has the details of this potentially historic deal that could affect some 3,765 Chinese citizens who were forced into hard labor in the company’s wartime mines:
According to the proposal, the company will acknowledge its “historical responsibility,” pay 100,000 yuan (2 million yen or $16,140) to each plaintiff, the sources said.
Mitsubishi Materials will also provide 300 million yen to build a memorial monument dedicated to the workers’ suffering and to cover research expenses to shed light on the truth concerning the plaintiffs’ suffering during the war. In addition, it will pay 250,000 yen to each former worker to invite them to a memorial service for the victims, the sources said
However, one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit from the beginning isn’t happy with the proposed settlement. He told the Global Times that the 100,000 yuan per victim is much less than the 1.2 million yuan they had requested from the start.
Officially, the Japanese government has argued that Japanese firms shouldn’t have to pay any reparations to Chinese citizens forced into labor during the war, citing the 1972 Japan-China joint communique, which normalized diplomatic relations between the two nations. Still, Mitsubishi seems to have decided that apologizing and compensating is the best way to serve its global image, at least in most places.
This past Sunday, the Japanese firm issued an apology to US prisoners of war used as forced labor during World War II. The AP reports that an outside director of Mitsubishi Materials also said on Wednesday that the company hopes to apologize to former British, Dutch and Australian victims as well.
Mitsubishi does seem to be leaving a couple of countries out of its apology tour. Notably, the Globe and Mail reports that Canadian victims may not receive an sincere apology due to a “lack of evidence.” Meanwhile, thousands of Korean victims aren’t likely to receive a thing since Mitsubishi believes that they were technically Japanese citizens at the time of their enslavement. Tough luck.
by Alex Linder
[Images via Sina]