Monument for Chinese forced laborers unveiled in Hiroshima

The move follows a compensation settlement reached in October 2009 between Tokyo-based Nishimatsu Construction Co. and five Chinese plaintiffs.About 40 people, including the plaintiffs and bereaved families of former laborers, attended a ceremony at the Yasuno power plant of Chugoku Electric Power Co. where the Chinese were engaged in forced labor.

The monument, which is about 3.6 meters tall, is made with a stone from China. It inscribes in both Chinese and Japanese the history of forced labor and of the lawsuit leading to the settlement, along with the names of 360 Chinese laborers.

According to Nishimatsu's record, the 360 people were forcibly taken from China's Shandong Province in 1944. Working at a construction site for the power plant, 29 of them died from exposure to the atomic bomb dropped on the city the following year and other causes.
The plaintiffs sued Nishimatsu in 1998, initially losing at the Hiroshima District Court in 2002 but then winning a reversal at the Hiroshima High Court in 2004. The Supreme Court dismissed their claims in 2007 but called for an effort to redress the victims.

The construction firm voluntarily made the compensation offer in a separate move from the lawsuit. The settlement took place at the Tokyo Summary Court in October 2009, with Nishimatsu agreeing to set up a trust fund to redress the victims and issue an apology to them.

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