Chinese Forced Labor, the Japanese Government and the Prospects for Redress


July 6, 2005

Chinese Forced Labor, the Japanese Government and the Prospects for Redress
Chinese Forced Labor, the Japanese Government and the Prospects for Redress

Chinese Forced Labor, the Japanese Government and the Prospects for Redress

By William Underwood

The practice was known as “laborer hunting,” and on that June 1944 afternoon 28-year-old Liu Zhongtang became the prey. Abducted at bayonet point by Japanese Army soldiers from his North China farm field, Liu was first taken to their local base camp for torture and interrogation, and then plunged into the brutal feeder system for Chinese forced labor in Japan. At one point he was held in an underground pit covered with wooden boards before ending up in the wretched Tanggu concentration camp on the coast. Detention conditions were so bad that 812 captives died between the Chinese coast and their intended work sites in Japan, in Liu’s case the Ashio copper mine in Tochigi Prefecture.

“By the time I got to Ashio,” Liu recalled of his arrival that October, “I had lost the will to escape. I no longer cared what would happen to me. I thought if I died there that would be fine.” To survive, he sometimes ate grass and even chewed on dynamite for its minimal nutritional value. A Japanese former mine employee later recalled, “Some of the men were too physically weak to work. We wondered why people in such bad shape were brought here. But even though they were starving they had to work in the mine.”

Back in China, Liu’s mother died of illness, repeating on her deathbed, “My son has come home. Open the door for him.” Liu was fortunate; he did make it back to his farm village. Out of 257 workers sent to Ashio, 109 died there.[1]

The basic facts about Chinese forced labor (CFL) are not in dispute today. Since the 1950s, Japanese grassroots activists have worked to reveal the true nature of the wartime forced labor system which involved Chinese (our focus here), Koreans and Allied POWs. More difficult, however, has been gaining official apology and compensation for the victims. Supporters of CFL redress suffered a major setback on June 23 when the Tokyo High Court, reversing a landmark lower court decision, ruled that the government does not need to compensate the family of a different worker, Liu Lianren, for his 13 years spent hiding in Hokkaido after World War II.

In recent years, though, lawsuits filed by elderly Chinese victims of labor conscription in Japan have achieved notable courtroom gains. Judges have accepted plaintiff assertions about the forced labor program even when rejecting compensation due to state immunity and time limits for filing claims. An April 2002 decision by the Fukuoka District Court ordered damages to be paid by Mitsui Mining Co., whose wartime conduct the judge concluded “can only be described as evil.” That ruling was later reversed by a high court judge who nonetheless conceded that the program was an “outrage against humanity.”

In July 2004, the Hiroshima High Court overturned a lower court decision and ordered Nishimatsu Construction Co. to pay compensation. Both the Fukuoka and Hiroshima cases are now before the Japan Supreme Court. The Niigata District Court, in March 2004, found both the state and the transport company Rinko Corp. liable for damages. There have been two court-assisted compensation settlements so far. In November 2000, the Tokyo High Court decreed the establishment by Kajima Corp. of a settlement fund for claims stemming from the so-called Hanaoka Incident, in which workers at the Hanaoka mine rioted in response to mistreatment resulting in the death of more than 400 miners, half the Chinese work force. Nippon Yakin Kogyo Co. agreed to a compensated settlement last September on the advice of the Osaka High Court.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Fukuoka case were the first to introduce as court evidence some 2,000 pages of documents released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in November 2002. These records, many of them formerly classified as top secret, may prove vital for CFL redress. Covering the years 1952-72, the MOFA documents include reports by other government agencies, minutes of meetings between bureaucrats and lawmakers, and summaries of heated confrontations with citizen groups.[2]

The archives confirm that throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, progressive Japanese citizens excavated the remains of deceased Chinese victims and pushed the government to repatriate them to China, while erecting memorials and holding commemorations. The Japanese government is shown to have gone to great lengths to evade responsibility for Chinese forced labor by suppressing evidence, formulating a cover-up strategy, and repeatedly lying to the Diet and citizen groups.

The official campaign of deception peaked during the late-1950s in the administration of Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, who had served as the wartime czar of Chinese forced labor and spent three years in Sugamo Prison as a Class A war crimes suspect. The Foreign Ministry and the Kishi administration made a concerted effort to block the CFL issue from being raised in the Diet because of its potentially explosive impact on the controversial revision of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, and to avoid reparations demands from the Chinese government.

However, the government faced a major dilemma in the 1950s when the need to repatriate tens of thousands of war-displaced Japanese from China became entwined with the problem of sending the bones of deceased Chinese back to China. The MOFA records show that the government was more concerned with dodging accountability for its wartime conduct than it was with the fate of Japanese nationals stranded on the continent. The central government ignored a unanimous resolution by the National Governors Conference in 1954 and similar resolutions by local elected assemblies calling for the prompt return of all Chinese remains. Demands from Japanese citizens and Beijing to divulge the voluminous information the state possessed about Chinese forced labor were stonewalled.

The problem facing earlier CFL redress advocates was never lack of information per se. Fearing war crimes prosecutions by the victorious Allied coalition that included the Nationalist Chinese government, MOFA sent a total of 16 investigators to all 135 forced labor sites nationwide in the spring of 1946, while simultaneously instructing the 35 corporations involved to submit information directly to the ministry. This process led to the separate compilation of relatively truthful Investigator Reports as well as more self-serving Site Reports, from which the 646-page Foreign Ministry Report was then produced essentially as a tool for government and corporate self-defense.

Beginning in April 1943, as the Foreign Ministry Report (FMR) records in meticulous detail, as the draft resulted in severe labor shortages, 38,935 Chinese men between the ages of 11 and 78 were brought to Japan to advance the war effort by performing harsh physical labor at mines, construction sites and docks from Kyushu to Hokkaido. The overall death rate of 17.5 percent, more than one in six, was achieved in barely two years of operation. Some individual work sites posted death rates in excess of 50 percent. The official fatality figure of 6,830 excludes the thousands of victims who died in China during hellish detention or while trying to escape prior to reaching the coast.[3]

Slave labor would be an accurate description of the CFL program. “Recruitment” in the war-torn region of North China from which nearly all workers were obtained was carried out amid the state-sanctioned terror of the Japanese military’s ruthless attempts to crush rural resistance. Many CFL victims were captured Communist or Nationalist soldiers who were never accorded POW status. During search and destroy missions by Japanese as well as puppet Chinese forces, any able-bodied male was liable to be abducted and treated as war booty.

Once in Japan, wages were rarely if ever paid. Cruelty was a central feature of supervision and there were no days off. Food, clothing and shelter were provided at, and in many cases below, survival threshold levels. Failure to meet demanding production quotas resulted in beatings and reduction of meager food rations. Some workers were reduced to wearing discarded cement sacks with arm holes cut into them. They were housed behind high fences in isolated camps with armed guards. In short, the laborers were treated as slaves, and expendable ones at that.

The Tokyo branch of the Overseas Chinese Association (OCA), which functioned like a shadow embassy for the People’s Republic of China before 1972, obtained the five-volume Foreign Ministry Report and a full set of 135 Site Reports from a conscientious MOFA investigator in the early 1950s. Individual site reports, containing sensitive information such as the names of staff who supervised forced labor, were sometimes wielded by the OCA to browbeat recalcitrant companies into handing over bones and ashes. The OCA also showed the FMR to the Japanese Red Cross Society in an effort to enlist the group’s support in the remains repatriation project, and in 1955 it publicly stated that it possessed the report.

With extensive primary source documentation in their hands, activists sought to force the government to acknowledge the accuracy of CFL name rosters and to send remains home to China. The MOFA documents, finally declassified in 2002, illuminate how the state subverted these citizen goals by manipulating both public and private actors during a lengthy kabuki-like performance.

Smoking guns, insincerity

Initial redress-related activities started spreading outward from Hanaoka in 1949, after ethnic Korean and ethnic Chinese activists began collecting bones at that most notorious CFL site. Energized by the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Japan Communist Party’s newspaper trumpeted the truth about Chinese forced labor in 1950, while the radical Hanaoka Free Labor Union insisted that the government take full responsibility by returning remains, make official admissions and apologies, and solemnly commemorate the injustice.[4]

The idea of compensation for victims was not in the air during this period. A few of the abused Chinese workers had issued spontaneous calls for compensation while still in Japan immediately after Japan’s defeat, but these voices faded after repatriation in late 1945 and early 1946. Facing a civil war, the Nationalist government looked with suspicion on former forced laborers, some of whom had been communist fighters. The PRC warmed to the concept of individual compensation only in the past few years; indeed, many CFL victims endured hostility within postwar Chinese society for having been in Japan at all.

A determined Japanese Buddhist began digging up bones and ashes of Hanaoka victims in 1950 and storing them with dignity at his small Tokyo temple. Similar grassroots projects spread across the country. The MOFA archives reveal that in August 1952, in an act apparently aimed at preventing the Chinese remains issue from escalating, high-level bureaucrats from two separate ministries agreed to provide financial support for temple memorial offerings and a remains storage fee. A MOFA official in his private capacity, along with representatives of the Mitsui and Mitsubishi corporations, quietly attended a temple memorial service that month. These main CFL actors display a very different attitude in 2005 courtroom settings, where they deny all liability.

The Memorial Committee for Martyred Chinese Captives, an umbrella organization formed in March 1953, included mainstream groups such as the Japanese Red Cross as well as the Overseas Chinese Association and the Japan-China Friendship Association. The Memorial Committee petitioned the government to immediately return the bones of the deceased using Red Cross ships and public funds, while requesting passports so that group members could escort the remains as part of an official delegation. MOFA refused these requests, telling the committee that its stance toward the remains problem would be one of “total noninvolvement.”

Archive records make clear that authorities closely monitored and sought to contain community activities involving the legacy of Chinese forced labor. On Feb. 5, 1954, the ministry archived a report from the National Police Agency, noting that “this document should be treated as absolutely top secret. If it leaks out, people will know that the NPA possesses information and will request it from us. Exercise caution so that leftists cannot use this document for propaganda.”

The report continues, “We currently bear no responsibility for the remains issue, but it can be predicted that leftist resident Chinese might go to each prefecture and stir up disputes with work site managers over handling of remains, or militant resident Koreans might join forces with local communists for agitation purposes.” The police document estimates that 5,435 sets of Chinese remains were still in Japan as of early 1954, after subtracting those already sent back from the official death toll of 6,830.

By February 1957, MOFA realized that it could not expect China to locate and send home war-displaced Japanese unless the Japanese government became more directly involved in returning Chinese remains and furnishing a definitive name list. It was decided that the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) would conduct a new nationwide survey of Chinese forced labor on humanitarian, rather than war responsibility, grounds. MOFA instructed corporations to again provide documents “without anxiety,” adding that the Japanese Red Cross would take custody of any bones that might be discovered. Corporations complied, revealing that they also retained substantial CFL documentation.

Invariably the protagonist throughout this period, MOFA deployed both MHW and the Red Cross as firewalls for insulating the state from accountability. By dispatching MHW staff to again survey work sites beginning in 1958, MOFA forestalled progress on remains repatriation for several more years. Whenever the Memorial Committee attempted to disclose its FMR-based data or raise the forced labor issue in the Diet, MOFA insisted that because the committee’s figures varied slightly from Health and Welfare Ministry figures, no data could be released.

Liu Lianren, having fled from a Hokkaido work site two weeks before the war ended, emerged from hiding in February 1958 and demanded compensation from both Meiji Mining and the government. Authorities began investigating Liu for entering Japan illegally and then tried to portray him as a voluntary contract laborer, something that both Liu’s Japanese supporters and Chinese media flatly rejected. A Socialist Party Diet member sought compensation for Liu during a visit to the prime minister’s office on April 4, 1958, but was rebuffed by a MOFA official on the grounds that no evidence from the period existed. A handwritten ministry memo about Liu’s appearance states, “If damaging evidence emerges now it will be extremely disadvantageous for the government.”

An August 29, 1959, MOFA document makes explicit reference to the “original survey report of March 1946” and quotes precise figures contained in the Foreign Ministry Report. The document notes that the FMR fatality figure is 174 higher than that obtained by the ongoing MHW survey as of the previous June. Clearly in possession of information from the 1946 report, if not still holding the entire report as modern-day activists insist, MOFA resolved the discrepancy by concluding that the 174 men either returned to China after 1946 or simply went missing.


To appreciate the Japanese government’s autocratic actions during 1960, it is necessary to recall the tumultuous political and social context. Throughout the spring of that year, hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied in bitter opposition to revision of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, which was eventually passed by the Diet in the dead of night with no opposition members present. The leader of the Japan Socialist Party, who had strongly criticized American imperialism and called for much closer ties between Japan and China, was assassinated by a sword-wielding ultranationalist during a televised speech that October.

Violent strikes at Mitsui Corp.’s Miike coal mine, the nation’s largest, dominated headlines that summer. Thousands of security treaty protesters traveled to Kyushu to support the Miike miners. Fifteen thousand police officers, fully 10 percent of the nation’s total force, crushed the protest. At the sprawling Miike complex 15 years earlier, some 8,500 Koreans, Chinese and Allied POWs had toiled under slave-like conditions.[5] The issue of wartime forced labor had the potential to galvanize progressive forces in 1960, as the MOFA archives confirm that authorities believed.

On Feb. 11, 1960, MHW reported to MOFA that its forced labor survey, carried out in 1958 and 1959, had concluded. Noting that “relations with China are at a very delicate stage now and the security treaty issue is boiling in the Diet,” MOFA asked MHW to “tell the Diet the investigation will continue until the end of this year or next spring.” MHW agreed. MOFA’s nightmare, as it told MHW on March 16, was that “if this issue comes to the surface in the middle of security treaty deliberations, it will give China the perfect ammunition for attacking the Kishi administration. So delay the matter as long as possible.”

MOFA shifted into active cover up mode. On March 17, according to archive records, the official who had been in charge of compiling the FMR in 1946 gave a confidential briefing to the current chief of the ministry’s Asia Bureau. The bureau chief was told that due to fears it could be used for war crimes prosecutions, the FMR was incinerated soon after it was produced, with the ministry keeping only one portion of the report.

The incriminating March 17 document shows that the MOFA Asia Bureau chief then deliberately altered the “one portion remains” account he had been given. Rather, it was decided that in the event of Diet questioning “we will answer as follows: ‘It is true that the Foreign Ministry compiled documents concerning this postwar issue, but fears quickly arose that the materials might be used in connection with war crimes trials. In order to avoid causing trouble to people such as those connected with corporations where the Chinese laborers worked, we burned all of these documents. Therefore, the Ministry does not now possess even a portion of these materials. As for any survey report that leaked out, the Ministry is not able to confirm or deny that we produced it.'”

MOFA sought to marginalize the efforts of redress-minded citizens by portraying the FMR-derived materials they possessed as being impossible to authenticate. The government would deceive the Diet about the Foreign Ministry Report using the “everything was incinerated” falsehood on multiple occasions between 1960 and 1993.

On April 7, high-level officials from the Cabinet Office, MHW, and MOFA attended a meeting at the prime minister’s residence. The MHW representative described daily office visits by citizen groups and insistent demands for the results of the MHW survey. Meeting participants agreed that results of the MHW survey should be “trickled out” as slowly as possible, while taking care that “the government does not become criticized for its insincerity.”

Cold War politics in command

The Foreign Ministry’s concerns about reparations claims were not unfounded, as China in fact pressed Japan on responsibility for forced labor at this politically turbulent juncture. The archives yielded this MOFA description of a May 11 communication from the Chinese government: “During the war Chinese citizens were forcibly taken to Japan, made to work there and consequently died. In order to clarify these circumstances, a request was made to send relevant documents and a death roster in triplicate.” MOFA responded to a similar request made on May 22 of the following year by tersely informing the Chinese side that its message had been received and the matter was being investigated.

Beijing had long pushed Tokyo on the forced labor issue even more aggressively. The archives refer to frequent inquiries from family members of Chinese forced laborers during the immediate postwar period, and to a written communication from the PRC government on November 5, 1955: “An explanation was demanded of the Japanese government regarding the matter of tens of thousands of Chinese who were taken to Japan, made to perform forced labor and killed during the war.” There is a subsequent reference to a frosty message from Beijing received on July 25, 1957: “With respect to the matter the Chinese government has raised more than once, evasion through failure to reply is absolutely unacceptable.”

On May 17, 1960, MHW and MOFA officials met to coordinate strategy concerning dogged Diet questioning by the Socialist Party about the MHW survey results. MOFA had told the Diet two weeks earlier that it no longer possessed any FMR-related data whatsoever, but during this strategy session it told MHW that the two ministries should synchronize their respective figures for consistency. MOFA urged MHW to finesse Diet questioning without producing actual name lists broken down by corporation, since that would inevitably lead to inquiries targeting the corporations themselves. The security treaty was rammed through the Diet two days later, marking a low point in Japanese parliamentary democracy. Partly because opposition activists were so focused on security and labor issues during that chaotic year, the government managed to narrowly avoid facing the facts of Chinese forced labor.

But on May 20, 1961, an acrimonious meeting with the foreign minister himself brought together the top representatives of the Japanese Red Cross Society, the National Conference of Families for War-Displaced Persons, and the Memorial Committee. By now, MOFA had largely succeeded in co-opting the Red Cross and turning it against the citizen organizations pursuing broader war responsibility. While supporting the return of bones, the Red Cross official strongly opposed giving China documentation about the forced labor program or detailed descriptions of Japanese brutality and how victims had died.[6]

The foreign minister, recycling a reliable evasion tactic, said, “There is a discrepancy between the number of deaths found by the relevant (citizen) groups’ survey and the MHW survey. If we provide the Chinese side with data that differs from the Japanese government’s survey results, it will cause us trouble later.” This attitude pushed the exasperated head of the war-displaced families group over the edge, prompting him to directly confront the foreign minister by charging: “Everyone, including the Chinese, already knows the facts about forced labor and Japanese cruelty. Are you trying to hide the truth?”

The answer to that question was yes, as the Foreign Ministry records declassified in 2002 make clear. Fast forward to 1972, the year of the Japan-China peace treaty and the end of the 20-year period covered by the archival release. In connection with one of the final batches of bones sent home to China, as MOFA recorded on November 27, the Japan-China Friendship Association suggested that a list identifying all deceased victims would be a fitting expression of Japanese sincerity to mark the new era of restored relations. The Foreign Ministry’s response deserves full marks for consistency: “Such a list is incomplete and will not be presented to China.”

Connections to 2005

The contemporary movement for CFL redress reemerged within Japan in the mid-1980s, following a hiatus of two decades during which the political climate shifted from confrontation to accommodation and society pursued the collective goal of economic expansion. The earlier activists were pioneers in the field of Japanese war responsibility, focused on repatriating remains and forcing the state to acknowledge the program’s true nature. Today’s efforts are part of an expansive global movement seeking redress for various Japanese war crimes, aiming squarely both at a comprehensive national apology and compensation for individual CFL victims.

The problem of Chinese forced labor would appear more readily resolvable than most of the historical injustices that have been redressed by mainly liberal democratic nations over the past decade or so. Unambiguous details regarding dates and sites of the inhumane exploitation, along with the small (and dwindling) number of already identified compensation candidates, make the CFL claim especially strong, according to academic models of the redress process. That the postwar Japanese government and corporations produced voluminous documentation, which they then suppressed in order to evade accountability, adds to the sense of an injustice requiring rectification.

However, there has been a fundamental mismatch between the merits of the case and the political context in which it is unfolding. Mounting China-Japan conflicts in 2005 hardly suggest a milieu conducive to resolution of the issues.

Former slave laborers and supporters stand dejected outside the Fukuoka High Court in May 2004, after hearing that a lower court’s compensation award had been thrown out.

In the groundbreaking case of Japanese American redress, congressional legislation signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 produced a national apology and individual compensation of $20,000 for more than 80,000 Japanese Americans who had been interned during World War II. The Canadian Parliament soon afterward passed a nearly identical law compensating Japanese Canadian victims of wartime internment. Set up by the Japanese government in 1995, but funded by private donations, the Asian Women’s Fund for victims of military sexual slavery failed to achieve its goals of reconciliation and closure because of government distancing from both apology and reparations. The AWF approach was widely criticized as insincere and fewer than 300 former “comfort women,” whose existence Japan denied until 1992, accepted compensation payments.

Some Japanese judges, even while rejecting CFL plaintiffs’ legal claims, have urged the Japanese government to consider a comprehensive legislative solution. The obvious model is the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future,” enacted by the German government in 2000 with funding provided in equal parts by the state and German corporations that used forced labor. More than 1.6 million people in over 100 countries had received a total of more than four billion euros in compensation as of June 2005.

An ambitious Japanese Diet proposal for a forced labor compensation fund, closely patterned on the German example, was introduced in late 2000 but went nowhere. The fund would have benefited all of the hundreds of thousands of conscripts forced to work within Japan and throughout its wartime empire, or their heirs. As in the German case, the fund itself would have covered the expenses of locating elderly victims and evaluating claims. A current, more modest Diet proposal would compensate only Chinese victims of forced labor in Japan or their heirs.

Domestic political pressure for resolving the forced labor problem is conspicuously lacking in Japan today, due to an underdeveloped “redress consciousness” among most individuals and outright opposition to the concept among corporations and the state. This reality is partly a legacy of the six-decades disinformation campaign waged by MOFA. The concerted suppression of official documents and brazen manipulation of the parliamentary system set an enduring precedent in which unaccountable bureaucrats repeatedly thwarted attempts by an actively engaged civil society to assure justice for CFL.

Structural continuity links the wartime operation of the forced labor enterprise and the postwar evasion of responsibility. In early 1946, major corporations received large payments from state coffers as compensation for losses supposedly incurred due to the forced labor program, even though workers received no wages and only minimal food. The timing of these disbursements to companies, just as the Foreign Ministry Report was being produced for war crimes defense purposes and GHQ authorities were moving to dismantle the zaibatsu conglomerates, suggests an effort to portray industry as an economic victim. In fact, Miike mine records indicate that coal production doubled in the final year of the war thanks to massive use of forced labor.[7]

More recent examples of continuity regarding official attitudes toward forced labor can be cited. In 1993, one of the most tenacious investigations in NHK’s history turned up the Foreign Ministry Report, along with a complete set of Site Reports and a number of Investigator Reports from which the FMR was compiled. MOFA admitted in 1994 that the report obtained by the broadcasting network was the same one it had produced in 1946, an admission that had eluded citizen groups for four decades. Although the ministry continues to deny possessing its own copy of the Foreign Ministry Report, officials searched a basement storeroom in 2003 and discovered a 20,000-page document consisting of the edited Site Reports it had previously denied existed.

In response to Diet questioning following that discovery, the Koizumi administration submitted a written statement to the Lower House on August 26, 2003. “Regarding the issue of so-called Chinese forced labor, it is extremely regrettable that amid abnormal wartime conditions many Chinese people came to Japan in a half-forcible manner and endured many hardships due to severe work.” Although this description of “half-forced” labor seems about as plausible as being half pregnant, the statement reiterated the government’s position that the Japan-China Joint Declaration of 1972 extinguished all war-related compensation claims. It further noted vaguely that while state agencies do still retain some monetary deposits associated with wartime labor by non-Japanese, poor records make these difficult to trace.[8]

In its original incarnation, the grassroots movement to force the government to acknowledge the truth about Chinese forced labor was an early round of the 60-year-old contest over control of Japan’s narrative of the Asia Pacific War and an early attempt to provide redress to some of its victims. A line thus connects that era to ongoing controversies concerning history textbooks and Yasukuni Shrine, as well as to open claims for apology and remuneration by victims of military sexual slavery, the Nanjing Massacre, and several other wartime injustices. Today, the struggle over which war narrative will ultimately prevail rages within Japan and across East Asia, with profound implications for Japanese society and regional integration.

A prime example involves the distinct but related problem of Korean forced labor (KFL). The wartime circumstances under which hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced to work in Japan are now finally being researched in South Korea and by the Japanese government and corporations, something that was first done for CFL in 1946. This process will likely lead in the near term to the repatriation of some 1,000 sets of Korean laborer remains now held in a Tokyo temple, and it will surely lead to renewed claims from the Korean peninsula for KFL-related deposits held by Japan and other compensation.

Will a critical mass of Japanese citizens eventually reconnect with the seminal spirit of the redress activists described in the MOFA archives and recommence building on the foundation they laid? That remains a vital open question. If not, it will be difficult for the nations of East Asia to overcome the rancor that remains a legacy of war and colonialism and to strengthen their military, economic, political and cultural bonds.


[1] Liu was interviewed by NHK. See Maboroshi no Gaimusho Hokokusho: Chugokujin kyosei renko kyosei rodo no kiroku. NHK Publishing: 1994, pp. 124-42. This book is also the primary source for FMR-based data about CFL.

[2] The source for all information and quotations from the MOFA archives is “Gaimusho ‘gokuhi’ bunsho ga kataru Chugokujin kyosei renko kyosei rodo jiken no sengoshi: kokusai hanzai inmetsu kosaku no kazukazu to heiwa yuko wo negau naigai seron.” Fukuoka: Liigaru Bukkusu, 2003. The 32-page booklet excerpts documents submitted to the Fukuoka High Court by plaintiffs’ lawyers and is online.

[3] NHK Publishing, 1994.

[4] Along with the MOFA archives, the source for information about early CFL redress is Sugihara Toru, Chugokujin kyosei renko. Iwanami Shoten, 2002.

[5] Utsumi, Aiko. “Japanese racism, war and the POW experience,” in Mark Selden and Alvin Y. So (eds.), War and state terrorism: the United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the long twentieth century. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004, p. 122.

[6] Another example from this same period of the Japanese Red Cross’ failure to maintain independence from political interference involved its cooperation with MOFA in sending ethnic Koreans from Japan to North Korea. See Tessa Morris-Suzuki (2004), “Japan’s hidden role in the ‘return’ of zainichi Koreans to North Korea,” Japan Focus.

[7] Utsumi 2004, p. 139.

[8] The statement is available at the Japan House of Representatives homepage.


CFL= Chinese forced labor
MOFA= Ministry of Foreign Affairs
FMR= Foreign Ministry Report of 1946
MHW= Ministry of Health and Welfare
OCA = Overseas Chinese Association
PRC= People’s Republic of China
KFL = Korean forced labor

William Underwood, a faculty member at Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University, is completing his doctoral dissertation at Kyushu University on the topic of Chinese forced labor redress. He can be reached at [email protected]. Posted at Japan Focus July 8, 2005.


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Volume 3 | Issue 7

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