[JURIST] The Japanese Supreme Court [official website] has rejected the appeals of Chinese nationals seeking compensation for being forced to work in Japan as slave laborers [JURIST news archive] during World War II, ruling that Japan's 20-year statute of limitations barred their claims. The 42 original plaintiffs, only half of whom are still alive, filed suit in 1997 seeking compensation from the Japanese government and 10 contractors and mining companies that used their labor. The high court's Friday ruling was the second last week where the court rejected former laborers' compensation claims on statute of limitations grounds. In an earlier ruling last week, the court also said that the current Japanese government was not responsible for the wrongdoing of former leaders operating under Japan's constitution at the time. Japan has since adopted a pacifist constitution [text].
The Japanese high court has also denied compensation claims filed by Chinese victims of Japan's use of biological weapons and the Nanjing Massacre [Wikipedia backgrounders] and comfort women [JURIST news archive] on the grounds that the 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China [text] renounced Chinese claims for war reparations from Japan. In May, the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) [official website] blasted Japan's statute of limitations [JURIST report] for acts "amounting to torture and ill treatment." AP has more.