Subject: [cwj 138] Mitsubishi Heavy Sued for Forced Labor
From: Corporate Watch in Japanese <>
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 14:08:04 -0800
Seq: 138

South Koreans sue the state, MHI for wartime forced labor 
The Japan Times: Dec. 7, 2000

NAGOYA (Kyodo) A group of South Koreans filed suit
Wednesday against the Japanese government and Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries Ltd., demanding 90 million yen in compensation for
labor they were forced to perform during the war.

Kim Song Ju, 71, Kim Bok Rye, 71, and Kim Jung Gon, 76, the
brother of Kim Sun Rye, who was forced to work at age 14, filed
the lawsuit with the Nagoya District Court, demanding an apology
in addition to compensation for forced labor at an MHI plant in

They are part of a group of forced laborers from South Korea
who have filed two suits with the district court against the
government and MHI. Five other South Korean women filed the
other suit.

In the latest case, the plaintiffs said the three women were forced
to work at the MHI spinning factory, where Kim Sun Rye died
when the factory collapsed in the wake of the Tonankai
earthquake of December 1944.

According to the suit, the three were taken to Japan by June 1944
after being told they would be paid and could attend school while
working for MHI. Korea was under Japanese colonial rule at the

But they were forced to toil under miserable conditions -- there
was little food and they were not even paid minimum wage, the
suit says.

Kim Song Ju claims she lost part of her finger while working for
the firm because safety standards at the plant were nonexistent.

Kim Jung Gon meanwhile said the government and MHI are
responsible for his sister's death because the plant's collapse was
caused by the structure being weakened when it was converted
into a military aircraft factory during the war.

The suit came a week after a court-mediated settlement was
reached in a 5-year-old lawsuit filed against Kajima Corp. by
Chinese survivors of wartime forced labor at a mining site
operated by its predecessor, Kajima-gumi, in the town of Odate,
Akita Prefecture.

Kajima agreed to set up a 500 million yen fund to compensate the
11 surviving victims, who had participated in an uprising toward
the end of the war against cruel working conditions and torture.

The case marked the fourth major lawsuit against Japanese
companies that used forced labor during the war, following those
filed against Nippon Steel Corp., NKK Corp. and Nachi-Fujikoshi

Last week's case against Kajima was the first involving Chinese
victims. The three other firms have already settled their disputes
with Korean forced laborers.

The uprising, known as the Hanaoka Incident, occurred on June
20, 1945. Five Japanese mining supervisors were killed amid the
rioting, and in retaliation, 113 Chinese laborers were subsequently
tortured to death. Of the 986 Chinese workers taken to the
Hanaoka mine to engage in related construction work between
August 1944 and June 1945, 418 are said to have died there by
December 1945, including those killed after the riot.

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