mitsubishi materials corp., one of dozens of japanese companies to use chinese forced laborers during world war two, reached a settlement on wednesday covering thousands of people. the landmark agreement includes compensation, and an apology.
the historic deal was signed in beijing, tokyo with three former workers representing over 3,000 oppressed laborers. nearly 40,000 chinese were brought to japan in the early 1940's to make up for a domestic labor shortage. many were treated harshly by the japanese and died of malnutrition and violence.
under the settlement, mitsubishi materials will pay100,000 yuan ($15,000) to each of the workers and their families. laborers were forced to work at 10 coal mines operated by mitsubishi mining corporation, as it was formerly known. the corporation said it would try and locate all workers. payments would total 370 million yuan ($56 million) if everyone came forward.
one of the workers, yan yucheng, 87, said, "world war two ended 70 years ago. our forced labor case today has finally come to a resolution. we have won this case. this is a big victory that merits celebration."
"the company did it not for reconciliation, but to try to relieve the pressure on the japanese government," said kang jian, a lawyer representing 60 former workers who filed a case against mitsubishi materials in a chinese court. last year, the corporation apologized for its harsh treatment of u.s. prisoners of war, also used as forced laborers.
chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman hua chunying remarked beijing would pay close attention to how japan deals with such matters. chunying said, "china urges japan to adopt a responsible attitude and properly handle the relevant issue of history."
in a statement at the signing ceremony, the corporation "expressed its sincere apologies regarding its historical responsibility to the former laborers and the apologies were accepted by the three former laborers...we promise to continue to seek a comprehensive and permanent solution with all of its former laborers and their families."
mitsubishi materials also said it would construct memorials at the sites where the company's mines were located, and organize memorial ceremonies. several groups - representing workers and their families - sued the corporation two years ago. but one of the groups, representing 37 plaintiffs, rejected the settlement.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.