Former Chinese laborers who were forced to work in Japan during World War II on Thursday called for justice, before Japan's Supreme Court on Friday rules over a damage suit they filed against a Japanese firm.
Shao Yicheng told reporters on Thursday afternoon that he was tortured while being forced to work for the Tokyo-based construction contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co. during World War II.
"The Japanese company has not apologized to us the victims, nor has it recognized its crimes in forcing and torturing the Chinese laborers," he said.
"I hope the top court can deliver a ruling that does not go against conscience," the 81-year-old man said.
"Tomorrow's final ruling is significant," said Hiroshi Tanaka, leader of a Japanese support group for Chinese wartime laborers. "It could greatly influence further lawsuits related to former Chinese laborers."
In 1944, some 360 Chinese citizens were forced by the Nishimatsu Construction Co. to labor under severe conditions on a site in the Hiroshima prefecture. Among them, 29 laborers died either due to torture or on the ship back to China after Japan was defeated in 1945.
Shao, another victim Song Jiyao and 3 families of the deceased laborers filed a damage suit against Nishimatsu in 1998, demanding apology and compensations worth 5.5 million yen (46,760 U.S. dollars) for each plaintiff.
In July 2004, the high court of west Japan's Hiroshima prefecture awarded compensations in full to the five plaintiffs, marking the first time a Japanese high court has ordered the defendant, in a series of lawsuits involving forced laborers, to pay damages to the plaintiffs.
However, Nishimatsu Co. did not accept the ruling and appealed to the Supreme Court for final rulings. The Supreme Court held a hearing over the case on March 16 and is scheduled to deliver its final ruling on Friday.