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Ex-slave workers to sue Mitsubishi

By Hu Qingyun (Global Times)

15:29, April 02, 2013

Chinese workers who were abducted and enslaved by Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation during World War II and their families set up a nationwide group on Sunday to demand an apology and compensation from the company.

The group demanded the company pay 100,000 yuan ($16,000) to each worker or the worker's descendants, and establish a historical monument for them in Japan, said Liu Huanxin, a founder of the group, on Monday.

During World War II, the Japanese army forced about 40,000 Chinese people to work in Japan, and the Mitsubishi Corporation enslaved 3,765 of them.

Liu, 70 years old, says his father was one of the workers forced to work in mines under poor conditions.

"The group aims to unify the surviving Chinese workers and their families across China, in order to push the Mitsubishi Corporation to accept our demands," Liu told the Global Times.

Currently, there are about five groups of forced workers in China seeking an apology and compensation from the company, and each group has different compensation requests.

"The differences in the compensation requests of different groups became a huge obstacle in negotiations with the company. The company took it as an excuse for refusing compensation, as it stated that it couldn't give different amounts of money to different groups of forced workers," Fu Qiang, a lawyer of Shandong Pengfei Law Office, told the Global Times.

Fu filed a lawsuit on behalf of about 100 forced workers in Shandong Province against the company to demand both an apology and compensation in 2010, but it failed.

Fu hopes the unification of the compensation claim by a nationwide organization will help negotiations with the company.

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