Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Korean Victims of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb

Another article to share:
"A court in Busan has rejected a claim by six victims of the nuclear blast in Nagasaki, who were in the Japanese city as forced laborers for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, saying the statute of limitations has expired." This was the first claim by Korean victims of forced labor by Japanese companies that has been heard in a Korean court.

Korean court rejects claim against Mitsubishi by A-bomb victims, Hankyoreh News

The war compensation issues are complicated because there are political, legal and moral dimensions, I think. It is especially so in the cases of atomic bomb victims...


Eric said...

Wow that's interesting - thank you for posting it Sayaka.

What do you think the result would be if the Korean court had decided to hear the case anyway? And what sort of response do you think they would demand from Mitsubishi? How would they enforce the judgment?

Sean said...

I'm not an international law expert, but when I heard about this, I couldn't help but think of the Alien Tort Statute. This allows any alien to bring a tort suit in the US federal district courts against a foreign state. So theoretically, the victims could bring a suit in the US against Japan. I'm not sure if this would actually work because of the separation of powers questions it would raise (foreign relations is usually the domain of the executive branch and not the judiciary), but it's possible. Of course, the plaintiff would have to find a state with liberal statutes of limitations laws.

anthropositor said...

First, it seems innappropriate to have a statute of limitation on war crimes or torts stemming from them.

It strikes me that the two key defendants in this matter are the US and Japan. They should both answer the charges, not in a Korean court or a US court, but in a World Tribunal.

Eureka Ideas Unlimited

Sayaka said...

I did not read what exactly the charges said, but it is common (or at least makes sense) to sue their own state for signing a treaty with whatever states (Japan in this case) that stipulates that all the compensation issues were solved by signing it, and SKs would renounce the right to request further compensations, etc... The court case of Japanese forced laborers in Siberia after WWII against the Japanese government is also a similar case.

Moreover, many Korean war victims have tried to sue Japanese companies/government in Japan, too (although it does not seem to be much successful).