Japan rules against WWII claims

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Japan's Supreme Court rejected compensation claims by Chinese victims of atrocities committed by Japan in the 1930s and 40s, which included the use of biological weapons and a massacre in the city of Nanjing, defense lawyers said Thursday.

In two separate decisions made Wednesday, the top court upheld rulings by lower courts since 1999 that the current Japanese government was not liable for compensation demands from foreign citizens for wartime actions, according to defense lawyer Norio Minami.
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The plaintiffs from the two cases, who totaled 198 people including the families of the victims, had demanded apologies and combined compensation worth $15.8 million for death and suffering caused by wartime biological experiments, the so-called "Rape of Nanjing," and the firebombing of Yong'an city in China's Fujian province.

"These are unjust rulings that ignore the human rights and personal suffering of the defendants," Minami said. "The Supreme Court has completely neglected its responsibility to uphold justice."

Of the 180 plaintiffs involved in one of the cases, which sought compensation for biological warfare experiments, only 10 are actual survivors, the rest are relatives, lawyer Shuji Motonaga said. The remaining 18 plaintiffs sought payback for germ warfare, the Nanjing occupation and the bombing of Yong'an, said Masahiko Yamada, one of that group's attorneys.

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