Mitsubishi Pays Settlement to WWII Chinese Slaves

Posted on June 1st, 2016 by:

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Mitsubishi Pays Settlement to WWII Chinese Slaves

The Mitsubishi Material Corp. of Japan has just concluded a settlement agreement that will pay 100,000 yuan ($15,190) to former Chinese slave laborers who worked for the company during WWII.

With the payment comes a formal apology to the 3,765 Chinese victims of whom 722 died while working under brutal conditions.


Ma Wenyi holds a picture of his father who was forced into slavery by Mitsubishi during WWII (Photo: AP)

In a statement on their website, Mitsubishi “expressed its sincere apologies regarding its historical responsibility to the former laborers.”

At a signing ceremony on Wednesday, three former slave workers met with officials from Mitsubishi Materials in Beijing, formalizing the terms of agreement between the Japanese company and Chinese civic groups who represented the former slaves and their families.

In a statement, the three former slaves expressed their belief that Mitsubishi Materials was “sincere” in its apology, but that “no amount of money can make up for the loss of life and our trampled dignity.”

The settlement comes after 20 years of costly legal efforts by the Chinese slave workers and their families. Other prominent Japanese companies have previously reached out-of-court settlements with former slaves including the construction firms Kajima Corp. and Nishimatsu Construction Company and the stainless steel maker Nippon Yakin Kogyo.

Japan has been slow to acknowledge the responsibility of its wartime past, but with increasing economic dependency on China and Korea, Japanese attitudes have been changing.

During WWII, some 39,000 Chinese were forced into slavery by 35 Japanese companies. Many died as a result of brutal conditions and maltreatment.

On July 19, 2015, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. was the first Japanese company to issue an apology to American POW’s who were also enslaved by the company during WWII.

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