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Sun Sep 15, 2019, 11:50 PM

Are the Positions of the U.S. and Japanese Governments in Agreement in the American POW Forced Labor

INDIVIDUAL CLAIMS: ARE THE
POSITIONS OF THE U.S. AND JAPANESE
GOVERNMENTS IN AGREEMENT IN THE
AMERICAN POW FORCED LABOR CASES?
Kinue Tokudome*
Azusa K. Tokudome**

This article focuses on the Japanese government's position toward the issue of waiver of individual claims to determine how its position in the American POW cases compares with itsposition in past domestic cases in Japanese courts. As this article will demonstrate, until these American POW lawsuits were filed, the Japanese government had been arguing that individual claims had not been waived by the Peace Treaty. Section II of this article provides the background for Mitsubishi Materials Corp. v. Superior Court.8 Section III introduces the relevant portions of legal briefs filed by the Japanese government in Japanese domestic cases that dealt with the issue ofwaiver of individual claims pursuant to the Peace Treaty. It also references official oral and written testimonies made by Japanese government officials: before the Japanese parliament, the Diet,on the same issue. These materials show that for 40 years the Japanese government explicitly stated that individual claims had not been waived. Section IV describes a shift in the Japanese government's position regarding the issue of waiver in early 2001. This section shows that the positions between the Japanese government and the U.S. government has converged only since 2001.


UCLA
Pacific Basin Law Journal
Title
Individual Claims: Are the Positions of the U.S. and Japanese
Governments in Agreement in the American POW Forced Labor Cases
Permalink
https://escholarship.org/uc/item/8mt1g1ww
Journal
Pacific Basin Law Journal, 21(1)
Authors
Tokudome, Kinue
Tokudome, Azusa K.
Publication Date
2003
Peer reviewed

According to the premise of the article, the Japanese government never regarded the individual claims of forced laborers during the Pacific war as foreclosed by the peace treaty. They reversed their policy in 2001 according to the article when they encountered the differing US treatment of such claims. The authors thoughtful discussion contrasts more recent Japanese official treatment of such claims to those analogous claims against Germany from the WWII period. The article obviously needs to be updated (shephardized). I recall seeing reports that Japan recognized Chinese claims of this nature as late as 2007 in recent analysis of the status of Korean forced labor claims against Japanese corporations. International human rights bodies also take issue with the current government of Japan position on these claims. In any case, the article presents an interesting well documented policy and legal position of the government prior to 2001. It is unusual to find a well documented scholarly article like this in English concerning Japanese policies on this issue.

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