(Yicai Global) June 2 -- Mitsubishi Materials Corp., one of many Japanese firms that exploited Chinese forced labor during World War II, has agreed to apologize to and compensate thousands of victims and their families.
Mitsubishi Materials signed a reconciliation agreement in Beijing yesterday with three surviving representatives of those captured by Japanese forces and involuntarily put to work during the war. The Tokyo-based company will pay each laborer or their family CNY100,000 (USD15,200) and has committed to fund and build a monument in Japan to memorialize the victims.
To the victims and their families, Mitsubishi Materials "expressed its sincere apologies." Of the more than 1,000 survivors and their families, about 95 percent have agreed to the reconciliation with Mitsubishi Materials, according to Mr. Tong Zeng, head of the China Federation of Demanding Compensation from Japan.
Under the agreement, Mitsubishi Materials admits that during the war about 39,000 Chinese laborers were forcibly taken to Japan, as Japanese government documents attest. The firm's predecessor, Mitsubishi Mining Corp., and contractors working for it and its subsidiaries took 3,765 Chinese laborers into their workshops, where they toiled under harsh conditions. As many as 722 died during the period.
In 1990, Mr. Tong published a 10,000-word article titled 'China Demands that Japan Compensates Civil Victims.' The article set off a wave of civil claims against Japan. At that time, many Chinese victims of World War II, including those forced to labor for Mitsubishi, wrote to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing demanding an apology and recompense. After 26 years, the victims and the perpetrator have finally reached a reconciliation.