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Japan's Wartime Compensation: Forced Labour

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Half-a-century after the end of the war, today the victims of Japanese aggression in the Asia-Pacific region seek compensation for the wrong they had suffered.

One of the largest groups of victimised people is that of Korean forced labourers. The still unsolved issues caused by the wrong those individuals suffered, include, among others, the non-payment of wages and savings, compensation for inhumane treatment during deportation and forced labour, compensation for hibakusha, and for those labourers who after the end of the war had been left behind on the Soviet island of Sakhalin.

Both the Japanese Government as well as private companies employing forced labourers reject any and all demands, pointing both at the expiry of claims under municipal Japanese law and at the waiver of claims by the Korean Government in a 1965 bilateral agreement with Japan.

This article studies possible regimes in municipal Japanese and in international law under which the affected individuals could seek payment and compensation from the Japanese Government.

Affiliations: 1: University of Sydney

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