Date of letter:1999
Address of author:Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province
Date of event:1937, 1943
Location of event:Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province; Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province; Dalian City, Liaoning Province; Leshan City, Zhejiang Province
Name of author:Gao Xiongfei
Name(s) of victim(s):Li Xiuying, Zhu Zhiying, Wang Yaoxuan, Wang Dongsheng, Gao Xiongfei
Type of atrocity:Others, Biological/Chemical Warfare, Air Bombings, Nanking Massacre, Rapes(NM、RA、OT、BC、AB）
Other details:In 1937, Li Xiuying was discovered by the Japanese Army in Nanjing, and they wanted to rape her. She resisted violently and received 37 stabbing by Japanese soldiers. She miscarried after becoming pregnant in July. Zhu Zhiying was captured by the Japanese Army in Mudanjiang, where she was tortured to reveal the whereabouts of Anti-Japanese group members; later she was sent to 731 Unit and died there. In 1943, Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng were captured by the Japanese Army to 731 Unit for bacteria experiment and died. Gao Xiongfei and his mother became disabled in Japanese Army’s bombing in Zhejiang Province in 1943. Note: The envelope is missing
The 7th year of Heisei No. 15636 damage compensation demanding time (No. 24 Civil Department of Tokyo Local Court)
Summary of Ruling about Demanding Time of Damage Compensation Chinese Victims to Our Country Regarding Unit 731 Troop, Nanjing Massacre
Sentenced on September 22 of 11th year of Heisei
Part One. Main Text
I. Reject all claims from the Plaintiffs.
II. The litigation fee will be borne by the Plaintiffs.
Part Two. The Plaintiffs’ demand
I. The defendant shall pay the following amounts to the Plaintiffs at a percentage of 50%, since September 28 of the 7th year of Heisei (from the second day of the date when this litigation is delivered), till the payment is made in full.
1, The Plaintiff Li Xiuying, 20 million yen.
2, The Plaintiff Wang Jinshu, Wang Guoping, Wang Yibing
3, The Plaintiff Wang Huimin, 20 million yen.
4, The Plaintiff Jing Lanzhi i.e. Guo Jinglan, 20 million yen.
5, The Plaintiff Gao Xiongfei, 20 million yen.
II. The litigation fee is borne by the defendant.
III. Announced start of execution.
Part Three. Outline of this case
I. The Plaintiffs’ claim in this case, from the 12th year of Showa (1937, on July 7 in this year fighting erupted between the Japanese Army stationed near Marco Polo Bridge about 6 km southwest of Beijing and Chinese troops due to a minor cause, on July 9 ceasefire was reached, but our country still decided to dispatch troops to North China. In the early morning of July 20, the Japanese Army began general attack; on July 29 it occupied Beijing and Tianjin. August 13 in the same year witnessed the second Shanghai Incident. On September 23 KMT and CPC cooperation was established. China relocated capital to Chongqing on October 30. The Japanese Army’s attack on Shanghai came to an end due to landing in Hangzhou Bay on November 5 in the same year, in the middle of the same month Shanghai was controlled, but on the 20th day of the same month the local Japanese Army instructed to march toward Nanjing, and began attack of Nanjing with force (the government’s formal decision was December 1 in the same year). On the 13th day in the same month the Japanese Army occupied Nanjing, around that time “Nanjing Massacre” occurred. During the period before August 14 in the 20th year of Showa (1945) when our country accepted Potsdam Declaration and surrendered to allied countries (this period is referred to as “this case back then” below), our country’s invasion war or invasion behaviors in Mainland China (Republic of China and Manchuria State back then), as Chinese nationals, the Plaintiffs and their husbands, fathers and other relatives experienced extremely painful anguish, due to nonhuman atrocities (hereinafter “persecution behavior in this case”) by the Japanese Army and its soldiers on account of attempted rape, torture, maltreatment of captive, human experiment, and indiscriminate bombing. The Plaintiffs claimed:
1. The three articles of “Regulations on Land Warfare” (hereinafter “Hague Regulations on Land Warfare”), passed at the 2nd International Peace Conference in 1907 (the 40th year of Meiji) prescribed that individuals have the right of demanding damage compensation directly against the country engaged in war, this point has been made into International Customary Law in this case back then, based on this International Customary Law, also based on nonhuman cruel behaviors that in this case the persecution behaviors were against the then International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, the Plaintiffs have the right to directly demand our country to give compensation regarding the above-mentioned damages.
2. The persecution behaviors in this case belong to illegal behaviors prescribed by the then Chinese civilian law (Article 184 of the Second Chapter “debts” of the Civil Law of the Republic of China promulgated in the 18th year of the Republic of China (1929), 4th year of Showa, and enforced in the second year), in view of Regulation Article 11, the above-mentioned “illegal action” can be applicable to the persecution behaviors of this case, so that the Plaintiffs also directly demand damage compensation from our country. (Also about the Plaintiff Li Xiuying’s alternative claim, that the Japanese Army failed to prevent and control the Plaintiff’s raping (failed) behaviors by the Japanese Army, which belongs to illegal behavior according to the civil law of the Republic of China. She also claimed in this case the Plaintiffs’ persecution behavior is based on Article 188 of the Civil Law of the Republic of China, and must assume user responsibility.)
Based on any of the above demands, payment of damage compensation (20 million yen compensation money for each direct victim on average) is demanded.
II. The persecution contents claimed by the Plaintiffs are outlined below:
1. About Plaintiff Li Xiuying
(1) The Plaintiff Li Xiuying was born on February 4, 1919 (8th year of Taisho) in Nanjing, the then capital of China, and had lived there. In 1937 (12th year of Showa) she married Lu Huoran, a telecommunication technician from Shanghai (civil servant), and had a new residence in Shanghai. However, at that time Japanese Army’s aircraft carriers already appeared near Chuansha County in Shanghai, in September in the same year, it had become difficult to maintain stable new marriage life, so she returned to Nanjing from Shanghai. In November Lu Huoran also came to Nanjing, they reunited, but two or three days later they were separated again.
(2) The said Plaintiff went to an expatriate school in Wutai Mountains to seek shelter in the big chaos in December in the same year when the Japanese Army invaded Nanjing. The Japanese occupied Nanjing on April 13, and began massacre of prisoners and common civilians. At first the above-mentioned shelter was not discovered, but it was discovered on the 18th day.
(3) In the noon of 19th day, several Japanese soldiers came to take away young women. This Plaintiff cherished very strong sense of chastity, besides she was already pregnant with child of her husband, she made up her mind she would rather die than being raped, so she smashed her head on the wall, and lost consciousness, Japanese soldiers temporarily gave up the attempt to take her away.
(4) In the afternoon of that day, three Japanese soldiers came, two of them took away two Chinese women, the remaining one Japanese soldier wanted to rape her on the spot, so he chased others out of the room, and extended hands to remove her clothing. The Plaintiff refused to be raped, her right hand extracted the sword from the soldier’s waist, she stood with back against the wall, and adopted defensive stance, she bit the soldier’s hands, and resisted fiercely. The soldier shouted for help, two other soldiers heard the shout and ran inside, they produced bayonet and stabbed the Plaintiff 37 times. The body parts being stabbed included feet, face, head, and abdomen, totaling 29 spots. The said Plaintiff fainted when her abdomen received final stabbing, then the soldiers left the site.
(5) The Plaintiff’s father thought the Plaintiff had died, so he and other fellow refugees dug a pit, and carried her to the pit, at this moment she woke up. Her son in her belly died in miscarriage on the second day in her seven months of gestation.
After recuperation, perhaps due to deformation of muscle below the right eye, the said Plaintiff was unable to see clearly, her left cheek bone was missing, right cheek bone was displaced, till today she felt painful when washing face. Owing to gum damage inside the mouth, since 22 years old she began to use false teeth. The most painful thing is there are a number of scars left on the face.
(6) Husband Lu Huoran returned to Shanghai in 1938 to meet the Plaintiff again, afterwards the two gave birth to nine children, but because of the above-mentioned after effect, she was unable to take any job. Her own sense of shame and unpleasant looking unusual appearance even prevented her from going out. Finally she didn’t take any job.
2. The death of the Plaintiff Jing Lanzhi i.e. Guo Jinglan
(1) The Plaintiff Guo Jinglan, aka Jing Lanzhi. In January 1922 (11th year of Taisho) she was born in Kui County, Heilongjiang. Her father is Jing Ende. She was the eldest daughter among Liu Wei’s siblings, in 1926 (first year of Showa) his family along with uncle Jing Enhui, and Jing Enduan together moved to Harbin.
After the September 18 Incident in 1931 (6th year of Showa), the Japanese Army invaded and occupied Harbin, Back then the Plaintiff was nine year old, Jing Enduan moved to Mudanjiang in early 1939 (14th year of Showa), in around March in the same year, at the age of 17 she married Zhu Zhiying, who was brought to Mudanjiang by Jing Enduan. Zhu Zhiying was born in 1914 (3rd year of Taisho), the couple lived a harmonious life, and the family live on Zhu Zhiying’s salary.
After the above-mentioned marriage, Zhang Huizhong and his wife Long Guijie moved to Mudanjiang. Zhang Huizhong changed his name to Zhang Wenshan after arriving at Mudanjiang. Jing Enduan often came to the Plaintiff’s home. Sometimes Wu Dianxing came too. Jing Enduan, Zhu Zhiying, Zhan Wenshan, Wu Dianxing, and Sun Chaoshan told the Plaintiff, they were members of the Anti-Japanese campaign.
(2) On July 17, 1941 (16th year of Showa), Zhu Zhiying went to work in the morning, but he did not return after 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
At around 7 o’clock in the evening of that day, five Japanese military policemen came, after they confirmed it’s Zhu Zhiying’s home, they pushed the Plaintiff in front of the wall, kicked and hit her, then took her to Mudanjiang military police headquarters by a jeep. During interrogation, the two military policemen and the interpreter asked Zhu Zhiying’s occupation, the Plaintiff Guo Jinglan answered: “he goes to work in the day, and returns in the evening, he goes nowhere else” etc, then she was kicked and beaten again. Then she was asked about the matter of “Jing Zihe”. She knew Jing Zihe was the alias of Jing Enduan, wanting to protect him, and said nothing. Afterwards the Plaintiff was stripped, the military policemen used belt to whip her, and continued interrogation. She was covered by blood all over the body, nearly lost consciousness, then was dragged out of the room, and imprisoned in a cramped room annexed with the building. The small room accommodated Long Guijie and two children. In the night the Plaintiff learned from Long Guijie that Zhang Wenshan was also arrested.
(3) At around 8 o’clock in the morning of the second day, the Plaintiff was brought to the interrogation room, she saw Zhu Zhiying, who was then wearing handcuffs and shackles, torn clothing, with blood stains on the face. The military police repeatedly beat and whipped the Plaintiff in front of Zhu Zhiying. When regaining consciousness from extreme pain, she saw Zhu Zhiying said with tears in eyes: “Don’t beat her, she is a housewife, and knows nothing.” The military policemen wielded whips and began to lash Zhu Zhiying, when he lost consciousness, he was splashed with cold water, and then the interrogation continued. The Plaintiff wanted to run to Zhu Zhiying’s side, but was brought to the small room by two military policemen. This interrogation lasted about one hour.
(4) In the night of the fourth day, the military policemen again dragged out the Plaintiff, asked about Jing Zihe’s matter. The Plaintiff answered she knew nothing, the torturers went mad, one man wielded a stick and hit the Plaintiffs’ abdomen, the Plaintiff wanted to parry away with hand, and her wrist suffered bone facture. The Military policemen still tortured her, the Plaintiff lost consciousness for many times.
Afterwards, two military policemen brought the Plaintiff to another room, inside the room they found Zhu Zhiying, who was bound on a cross-shaped wood frame, stained with blood from torn flesh, with head hanging low. The Plaintiff hugged Zhu Zhiying, called his name. The military police found Zhu Zhiying regained consciousness, so they again started ferocious interrogation, they dragged the Plaintiff downstairs. This was the last time the Plaintiff saw Zhu Zhiying.
(5) On the fifth day, the Plaintiff’s hand and feet were all swollen, and was very painful. In the morning of the seventh day, the military police released the Plaintiff.
The said Plaintiff’s father Jing Ende was also detained by the military police for 71 days, received interrogation. Afterwards although he was released, he was already in a coma condition. He died within one year after release.
(6) After Zhu Zhiying was transferred from Mudanjiang military police to Harbin military police, according to “Notice on transferring special cases”, he was sent to Unit 731 Troop by the military police. After the Plaintiff herself was released, she kept making inquiry about Zhu Zhiying, and waited for Zhu Zhiying’s release. In 1950 (25th year of Showa) she received message about the death of Jing Enduan and Zhu Zhiying. Back then the details about the deaths were still unclear, in 1986 (51st year of Showa) from Han Xiao, Curator of the invading Japanese Army “Unit 731 Troop” Crime Display Museum, she learned Zhu Zhiying was killed by the Unit 731 Troop.
3. Persecution of Wang Yaoxuan’s surviving family members including Plaintiffs Wang Jinshu, Wang Guoping, Wang Yibing, Wang Guilan, Wang Yuzuo, and Wang Yukong as well as persecution of Wang Dongsheng namely Wang Xuenian’s surviving family member the Plaintiff Wang Huimin.
(1) Plaintiffs Wang Jinshu, Wang Guoping, Wang Yibing, Wang Guilan, Wang Yuzuo, and Wang Yukong are children of Wang Yaoxuan. Plaintiff Wang Huimin is the younger sister of Wang Dongsheng. Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng were arrested by the Japanese Army before being brought to the Unit 731 Troop.
(2) In 1943 (18th year of Showa), the radio intelligence team of the Japanese Kwantung Army Manchuria Unit 86 troop detected radio signals bound for the Soviet Union from a photography studio in Chinese residential zone in Dalian, on October 1 in the same year they arrested Shen Delong at the studio, through interrogation, the military police learned confession about exchange with Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng from Shen Delong. On the same day Dalian military police looked for Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng in Tianjin, clarified the residence of the two persons in the textile factory. At the end of the month, the Dalian military police to which testifier Yutaka MIO belonged arrested Wang Yaoxuan. The military police obtained Wang Dongsheng’s residence address from the arrested Wang Yaoxuan’s residence, and arrested Wang Dongsheng.
After Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng were arrested, they were brought to the Dalian military police, where he received interrogation by Yutaka MIO and others. The aim of the interrogation was to investigate Wang Yaoxuan’s relation with the Communist Party of China. Because Wang Yaoxuan refused to say anything, he was interrogated by splashing cold water, and burning feet with candle. The interrogation of Yutaka MIO and others lasted about three months.
(3) At the end of February 1944 (19th year of Showa), the Military Police Headquarters treated the above-mentioned Dalian incident as intelligence incident centering on Shen Delong, and issued the order to transfer four persons including Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng in a “special handover treatment” to Unit 731 Troop. The so-called “Special transfer treatment” implied handover to the Japanese Army Unit 731 Troop in Harbin, and anyone being sent there would not return alive.
On March 1 in the same year, Yutaka MIO and others received “Special transfer treatment” handover order, and sent four persons including Wang Yaoxuan, Wang Dongsheng to Harbin from Dalian by train in extreme secrecy. When the train arrived at Harbin, Yutaka MIO and others handed over four persons including Wang Yaoxuan, Wang Dongsheng to the military police waiting at the platform. The four persons were crammed into the dispatching vehicle. Since then Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng never returned home to their family.
(4) Wang Yaoxuan’s whole family learned from Uncle Wang Yuexuan that Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng were arrested. Losing economic pillar, the whole family was immersed in sorrow, they looked forward to seeing Wang Yaoxuan return. Six people including the Plaintiff’s mother and Uncle Wang Yuexuan inquired about clues of Wang Yaoxuan, they only heard he was sent to bacteria factory.
In 1956 (34th year of Showa), Wang Dongsheng’s family learned from Wu Jingye, the cadre of Changchun Municipal Public Security Bureau that, Wang Yaoxuan and Wang Dongsheng were sent to Unit 731 Troop’s bacteria factory for human body experiment and were killed.
After Wang Yaoxuan was arrested, the shop he managed was taken over by the Puppet Manchuria State Government, Wang Yaoxuan’s family lost economic income. In order to bail out Wang Yaoxuan, the whole family even had to sell the farm land; afterwards they depended on the remaining land field to earn a living.
(5) At the time of restoration of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relation, when hearing the news that Chinese government abandoned war compensation against Japan, The Plaintiff Wang Yibing felt at a loss. Because exchange between the two countries was very restricted, nothing is possible to be done. In 1995 (7th year of Heisei), enlightened by the speech of Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, it was only then that the litigation became possible.
(6) When Wang Dongsheng was arrested, his family included father Wang Yuexuan, Wang Dongsheng’s wife Liu Jiangyu, younger sister the Plaintiff Wang Huimin, younger brother Wang Dongshan, son Wang Mengzhang and Wang Yunsu totaling six persons. Wang Yuexuan looked forward to seeing Wang Dongsheng being released, and therefore sold the family property. Wang Dongsheng was the actual business operator of Tianjin Textile Factory, because of his arrest, the factory’s operation was plunged into chaos, the whole family lost economic pillar, economic condition deteriorated. Wang Yuexuan missed his son day and night, and soon died of illness. Wang Dongsheng’s family was forced to live a poverty-stricken life after the death of Wang Yuexuan.
Wang Dongsheng’s family learned from Wu Jingye of the Changchun Municipal Public Security Bureau in 1959 (34th year of Showa) that Wang Dongsheng was killed by Unit 731 Troop.
4. Plaintiff Gao Xiongfei (indiscriminate bombing victim)
(1) Plaintiff Gao Xiongfei was born in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province on February 4, 1939. After graduating from Linping Town Central Primary School, Hanghzou City Ninth High School, and the Department of Mathematics of Shanghai Fudan University, he worked as assistant lecturer, lecturer, and currently is an associate professor of Zhejiang College of Education in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.
On November 4, 1943 (18th year of Showa), when the Japanese Army aircrafts conducted large-scale indiscriminate bombing over Yong An City in Fujian Province, the Plaintiff and his mother together lost right arms.
(2) After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident on July 7, 1937 (12th year of Showa), the Japanese Army occupied Shanghai, in June 1942 (17th year of Showa) the Japanese Army invaded Juzhou, Zhejiang. The Plaintiff followed his mother to the mountain named Shipingxiang about 20 km from Juzhou City. Near the end of the month the Japanese Army retreated from Juzhou, they returned to the city, but their house was destroyed in bombing, and could not accommodate them. Since they feared the Japanese Army would return for bombing, the Plaintiff and his mother followed other refugees to walk for 100 days to go to Pucheng in Fujian Province about 200 km away.
(3) In 1943 (18th year of Showa) Yong An City was a city without air defense, nor were there any army or military facilities. However, from June 3, 1938 to November 4, 1943, the Japanese Army dispatched bombers to implement 11 rounds, 170 sorties of indiscriminate bombing over concentrated residential zones, resulting in heavy casualty and significant property loss among common residents including the Plaintiff.
In the above-mentioned bombing, the attack that inflicted the heaviest casualty was the “Yong An Disaster” on November 4, 1943. On that day 16 Japanese Army aircrafts dropped over 200 bombs, most bombs weighed over 500 pounds, and there were also small-sized incendiary bombs. It was estimated these aircrafts were from across the Taiwan Straits. The aircrafts lined up in a row, and collectively dropped incendiary bombs in varying sizes to the entire downtown district and west/east suburban areas. The incendiary bombs caused conflagration after landing, when citizens came out to put out the fire or salvage properties, the aircrafts again dived low, dropped bombs and sprayed bullets with machine gun.
(4) At around 1 o’clock in the afternoon of this day, the Plaintiff and his mother were having lunch at home, a bomb landed in the yard, he and her mother simultaneously lost right arm.
The Plaintiff lost right arm when he was young, the body lost balance, he often fell. He was stunted in body development, without arm the blood circulation was obstructed, bone lacked growth points, right arm and right lung were retarded, he was weak and prone to illness. When the temperature was low, the broken arm ached dimly, which disturbed sleep. He was discriminated against and laughed at because of disability, and bullied by children of his same age, his head would be splashed with sand, without provocation he would be kicked and slapped in the face. When walking on the street, sometimes others would shout aloud “the one with no arm is coming”, and he was gawked at as a rarity. When enrolling into higher school, because he was disabled, he was refused admission into exam. He found the education committee, and wrote complaint letter to newspapers, drummed up support from public opinion, and finally he was able to attend the admission exam, and enrolled into high school. He encountered the same difficulty when seeking university enrollment, he was admitted only after obtaining special approval; when hunting jobs he also met trouble because he had only one arm. After employment it took him over a dozen years in job transfer before he satisfied his wish. In personal life, because he had only one arm, he received discrimination, and tasted untold anguish when looking for partner of marriage.
(5) On the other hand, the Plaintiff’s mother previously was a night shift chief nurse of Huzhou Evangelical Hospital and chief nurse of Jinhua Evangelical Hospital, according to the original plan she planned to return to hospital to work after the children grew up, but she lost the job after losing the right arm, the economic condition at home immediately turned difficult. She could only use one hand to cook, did house chore, and care for the children. In the spring of 1944, due to weak physical condition after bombing, twice she fainted, and was admitted into hospital. Mentally she also suffered, and wanted to commit suicide for many times. Nonetheless, due to the young Plaintiff who needed care, the Plaintiff’s pleading, comfort and consolation from relatives and friends, she survived in the end.
(6) In May 1991 (3rd year of Heisei) the Plaintiff read the thesis by Tong Zeng “War Compensation and Damage Compensation in International Law” published on the Legal Daily, confirmed the difference between war compensation and damage compensation, and it’s possible to demand civilian damage compensation from the Japanese government. Since October 20, 1992 (4th year of Heisei) he repeatedly sent request letters to the Japanese Embassy, but received no reply. Through recommendation by Tong Zeng, he established contact with the “Chinese War Victim Compensation Request Incident Lawyer Team”, and finally began the litigation for this case.
III. The defendant’s main claims include: Even if the fact and relation claimed by the Plaintiff existed, for the above damages, the right of the Plaintiff as an individual to directly demand compensation to our country cannot be acknowledged.
IV. Key dispute points
1. Existence of persecution behavior in this case and its historical background & persecution attribute
2. For individual damage caused by war behavior of a foreign country, generally speaking will the right of such individual to directly demand damage compensation from such foreign country be acknowledged in international law?
3. For behaviors of foreign troops such as persecution behavior in this case, the individual victim has the right to directly demand damage compensation from foreign country, as International Customary Law, has it been established in this case back then?
Is it possible to consider that in the three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare passed at the second International Peace Conference in 1907, has it prescribed the right of individuals suffering from damage due to behaviors violating the attached “Rules on the Customs of Regulations on War on Land” (Hereinafter “Hague Regulations on Land Warfare”) to demand damage compensation from the country engaged in war to which those with the above-mentioned violation behaviors belong?
If the above-mentioned answer is affirmative, then is it acceptable to consider that for a war not directly applicable by the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, individuals sustaining loss due to behaviors violating Hague Regulations on Land Warfare has the right to directly demand damage compensation from the country engaged in war to which those with the above-mentioned violation behaviors belong, has this point been treated as International Customary Law in this case back then?
4. Is it acceptable to say because this case’s persecution behavior violated “International Humanitarian Law” and “International Human Rights Law”, individual has the right to directly demand damage compensation from our country as the country engaged in war that has committed such nonhuman behavior? Is it acceptable to consider such right of demand has been treated as International Customary Law in this case back then?
5. About this case’s persecution behavior, is it acceptable to exercise damage compensation demand right for the illegal behavior prescribed by the Civil Law of the Republic of China based on this case back then through Regulation Clause 1 of Article 11 to our country? More specifically, as far as this case is concerned, is it accpetable to consider that the “illegal behavior” mentioned in the Article 11 of the Regulation also supposes inclusion of damages of Chinese nationals in this case back then on Mainland China due to war behaviors of the Japanese Army and accompanying behaviors, applicable to the illegal behaviors prescribed by the Civil Law of the Republic of China which should be called private law, can generate the right of individual to directly demand damage compensation from our country through Clause 1 of Article 11?
6. Has the scheduled period of this case expired?
Fourth. Key points of sentence reason
(About international law, International Customary Law, regulations and similar law issues, because of difficulty in summarization, only the main contents of the conclusion are discussed here. As to the reason of obtaining the above-mentioned conclusion, please directly read the original text of the sentence. Our court acknowledges what the Plaintiff raised is a very important international issue, considering that in the future at the time of exploring better solutions, perhaps it will provide material, therefore even if it is criticized as harmful and benefitless, on the issue of this case persecution behavior that involves international history and war, war termination and equality, it is necessary to try best to indicate out of what consideration that our court cannot adopt the Plaintiff’s proposition, in the ruling reasons, with the limited knowledge, experience and ability of our court, dare to discuss this issue. Here it only involves one end of the problem, for the rest please directly read the original text of the sentence.)
I. In view of the evidences and all debate details, regarding the nonhuman persecution behavior sustained by the Plaintiffs, the Plaintiff and his husband, father, and brothers from the Japanese Army and soldiers of the Japanese Army, i.e. persecution behavior in this case, they can basically be acknowledged. The historical reason as the background can be described below, the court was of the opinion that directly after statement of the Plaintiffs themselves, and testimony of testifier Yutaka MIO on persecution behavior of this case, all truthfully and straightforwardly explained the facts, at present the defendant’s side could hardly be able to give counter evidence, therefore it is totally impossible to make one suspect there is distortion of facts. In this case the persecution behaviors are all nonhuman, which made the Plaintiffs themselves, the Plaintiff’s husband, father, and brothers all suffer damage, which should be very clear judging from all evidences and all debate contents. (However, about the total truthfulness of the Plaintiffs’ claim, argumentation details and heresy facts, it can only be regarded as difficult to say. It may not be possible to confirm what kind of city Yong An was, why the Japanese Army came to have air raid in Noivember of the 18th year of Showa, yet in the end it had no impact on the conclusion of this case, therefore it is put aside.)
II. In this case back then our country’s military actions in China experienced the Manchuria Incident in the first year of Showa (1926), the first Shanghai Incident in the 10th year of Showa, Manchuria State Independent Declaration in the 17th year of Showa, the exit of International League in the 8th year of Showa, and the February 26 Incident in the 11th year of Showa etc, our country’s Military Ministry established its ruling system, after the 12th year of Showa (1937), it was led by succeeding and internally conflicting cabinet and the sometimes unruly Military Ministry, simulated contemporary European and American powers or European and American powers in confrontation, wanting to ensure and expand our country’s rights and interests in Mainland China, taking advantage of the complication and chaos inside China either politically and militarily, without proper reason, and adequate future prospects, an action arbitrarily and blindly pushed forward, it is invasion behavior based on imperialist and colonial intention which allowed no space of excuse for China and Chinese nationals. In this “Sino-Japanese War”, although the above-mentioned chaotic condition existed within China, Chinese nationals still established Anti-Japanese battle line with the general situation, the war became stagnant. Our country’s occupation invasion behavior and the accordingly derived various nonhuman behaviors continued for a long time, so it brought tremendous war disaster to numerous Chinese nationals, it can be argued that this is historical fact without slightest doubt. About this point, our country should sincerely apologize to the Chinese nationals. Obviously, in maintaining and developing friendly relationship and peace between countries and between peoples now and in the future, the integration between people’s sentiment and national sentiment is the foundation. Between our country and China, due to existence of the above-mentioned extremely unfortunate history periods such as Sino-Japanese war which is pitiful for China and Chinese nationals, but also for our country and Japanese nationals, when maintaining and developing existing and future friendly relation and peace, it is also necessary to seek integration of mutual national sentiments and people’s sentiments. Of course, our country should all the more give it maximum possible consideration for this issue.
III. On July 7, 1937 (12th year of Showa) the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred, most people considered it as the all-round beginning of “Sino-Japanese War”. Nevertheless, because the two nations had not declared war, our country regarded it as “Sino-Japan Incident”. Furthermore, for instance in the Unite States, no opinion considers it as the “war” in the international law. For the battle between Japan and China back then, regardless of then or now sometimes we use expression of “Incident” like “Manchuria Incident”, “Shanghai Incident”. But the truth can only be defined as our country unfolded “war” and even “invasion behavior” on the land of other countries. On May 31 in the same year, the cabinet of Senjuro HAYASHI resigned totally within less than four months of appointment; on June 4 the first Fumimaro KONOE cabinet was established.
On July 7 in the same year, a minor incident happened in which one new recruit of the Japanese Army stationed near the Marco Polo Bridge about 6 km southwest of Beijing became missing, which triggered fight and became known as the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. On the 9th day of the same month, ceasefire agreement was signed, but our country still decided to send troops to North China. Back then in North China the prominent figure in the Chinese side was collateral regional warlord Song Zheyuan under the national government led by Chiang Kai-Shek, who adopted compromise attitude toward our country. Although the national government did not want to immediately wage all-out defending war against our country, the government’s Zhili Warlord Army made preparations of defending war, besides on the 23rd day in the same month the Communist Party of China announced eight guiding principles of nationwide army general mobilization, general mobilization of people nationwide, political institution reform, and appealed for all-round Anti-Japanese war against our country. With the arrival of the Japanese Army’s aid troops, the tension in North China aggravated. In the evening of the 25th day in that month, the battle began, in the early morning of the 28th day the Japanese Army started general attack, by the 29th day, the Japanese Army occupied Beijing, Tianjin and other places. During this period, in Tongzhou rebellion broke out among Chinese security force due to lack of prevention against the so-called Puppet regime, which killed a few Japanese Army garrison troop soldiers and about 200 Japanese expatriates. This incident was publicized extensively in China under the name of “Tongzhou Massacre”. After occupying Beijing and other places, Chinese nationals’ Anti-Japanese sentiments escalated, on the other hand ideological control became public, the trend of Taisei Yokusankai (Imperial Rule Assistance Association) expanded in our country in the propaganda aspect.
After the above-mentioned battle started in North China, tension in the East China city Shanghai also escalated, on August 13 in the same year the second Shanghai Incident occured. Back then Shanghai was the biggest industrial city in China, a stronghold for access to China by the global powers since the Taiping Heaven Kingdom, French settlement and British, American and Japanese common settlement already existed as extraterritoriality zone, Japanese expatriates were concentrated. On the other hand, Shanghai was also an area where Anti-Japanese national movement centering on workers and students thrived. On September 23 in the same year, the cooperation between the National Party and the Communist Party was established, on October 30 China’s capital was relocated to Chongqing. On November 6, Italy joined the Japan Germany Agreement against Communist Nations, in December Japan exited from the International League.
IV. On December 13 the Japanese Army occupied Nanjing.
Because of Chiang Kai-Shek’s instruction on Anti-Japanese war, the Japanese Army’s attack on Shanghai finally came to an end due to landing in Hangzhou Bay on November 5, 1937, in mid-November it controlled Shanghai, but the Japanese Army and Japanese soldiers received heavy casualty in the above-mentioned battle, they were mentally and physically exhausted, soldiers’ morale was low, loose discipline became a problem. Nevertheless, under such condition, on November 20 the troops received instruction of marching toward Nanjing, and began forceful attack on Nanjing without formal command. Following the anticipation of Japanese nationals, on December 1 the decision was formally made to occupy Nanjing. The distance from Shanghai to Nanjing is about 300 km, the total area of Nanjing Special Municipality was equivalent to the total size of Tokyo, Kanakawa Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture. During the six weeks from the actual march at the end of November till the fall of Nanjing, or in other words several weeks afterwards, it was believed several dozen thousand and even three hundred thousand Chinese were killed (this is the generally named “Nanjing Massacre”. General Iwane MATSUI, commander of the front army, was sentenced to death by the Far East International Military Tribunal based on his understanding of this condition. In February 1946 Nanjing’s military tribunal also investigated the responsibility of Nanjing Massacre, four Japanese Army leading officials received death sentence).
The contents of this “Nanjing Massacre” (is it organized, to what degree did the superior took part in it etc), size etc cannot be accurately determined (it is difficult to determine the space of calling it “Nanjing” and the scope during the Massacre one by one, including persecution during battles, burning of civilian houses during the fighting process, the number of civilians being killed, the number of soldiers not in uniform being killed, the number of captives being killed, the number of women being raped etc.), but suppose there was 10000-20000 people in the case which is called “Massacre”, it was not organized, and totally different from the action of Hitler and Nazi in decimating Jewish people in an organized way, it is a thing within the scope of the so-called “general war crime”, then there is basically nothing wrong to say the “Nanjing Massacre” itself existed. The Plaintiff Li Xiuying was stabbed during this period by Japanese soldiers.
As symbol of atrocities of Japanese Army and Japanese soldiers, the above- mentioned “Nanjing Massacre” has been vigorously publicized worldwide since then (although our country is in the wrong, but at least at that time, our country was an “orphan of the world”, it had no true friendly nations, it was being vigilantly watched and antagonized by almost all the countries. Judging from such condition, with political intention, from back then till the end of the war, or even till today, there might be aspects being exaggeratedly communicated. Nevertheless, because of such situation it would be inappropriate to publicly say “Nanjing Massacre” itself does not exist, by taking advantage of difficulty in investigation, with no intention to explore the truth by oneself, which is like proving the fact itself does not exist without any proof.).
V. On the other hand, at Pingfang (geographical name) in Harbin of the Manchuria State in 1938 (13th year of Showa), our country’s Unit 731 Troop constructed a research institute with several dozen buildings and airfield. The bacteria troops of Shiro ISHII began to set up research institute in the nearby Wuchang (geographical name) in 1934 (9th year of Showa), in order to expand this research institute, it also built bungalows, with the aim of unfolding massive production of bacteria weapons, which were intended to be used in real warfare, for this purpose it also used captives which were called “Maruta ” for human body experiment. In August 1945 near the time of surrender, in order to destroy evidences, the above facilities were totally detonated. The post-war Far East Military Tribunal didn’t investigate its responsibility, but the Soviet Union and China’s military tribunal investigated the real facts and responsibility of the Japanese soldiers. The existence of Unit 731 Troop and human experiment are indisputable beyond doubt.
VI. (The text below is about theory of international law. But the later Article 9 International Private Law is also domestic law issue)
However under international law, about damage compensation issue concerning behaviors of war related to foreign countries, even if the damage was found on individuals, generally speaking there is no such right for individual to directly demand damage compensation from foreign countries, instead the issue must be solved through relevant diplomatic negotiation between the country to which such individual belongs and the other country by signing post-war peace treaty. Such interpretation has been established as general theory in international law, the right of an individual to directly demand war damage compensation from a foreign country is not acknowledged (even if it is only limited to first half of this century, there were numerous wars in places around the world, for war damages brought therefrom, there was nearly no case which acknowledged individuals to have the right to directly demand damage compensation from foreign country and receive processing, if any there may be one or two cases which may very well be called very rare as a drop in the ocean).
Regarding the “as guideline of international law, individual has no legal entity” proposed by the defendant. Based on such general and abstract discussion, the Plaintiffs accused that the damage compensation demands of the Plaintiffs individuals in this case against our country were not acknowledged, and proposed what this case should discuss is the issue of “whether or not a country that violates international law, and imposes illegal behavior on foreigners is in a position to determine whether or not the victim individual has the right to directly demand damage reparation from such persecuting country, especially for the condition of frequent violation of rights on a massive and extensive scale like war, as corresponding legal remedial measures, whether or not an individual’s demand on the persecuting country cannot be considered,” the Plaintiff mentioned this problem itself is precious, its aim is not incomprehensible, theoretically speaking, “no consideration for individual’s claim against the persecuting country” etc does not exist. But in view of the actual condition of numerous wars worldwide and the termination of war condition from the mid 19th century till today, especially the thing war having no relation with “law”, the judgment on its correctness is almost impossible, generally there is no reason. Just like what the Plaintiff proposed, war brought about frequent nonhuman violations of rights on a massive and extensive scale, judging from macro perspective, about war damage, if it becomes necessary to implement the justice of individual citizen law level as proposed by the Plaintiff, although war and war condition have basically ended, there still remains the danger of leaving behind big sources of dispute afterwards, which may again trigger war status, and therefore repeated occurrence of frequent nonhuman violation of rights. If the necessity of avoiding recurred war and war condition is regarded as supreme subject and the justice of the whole mankind, then in order to bring about its fulfillment, even if the result is equivalent to sacrificing individual justice at citizen law level, as for demanding damage compensation issue from war country related to war damage, it is therefore confined not to acknowledge individuals’ direct right against foreign country, instead it is handled together through signing friendly peace treaty between countries after the war. At least regardless of this case back then or now, the individual war damage of any war is handled this way, such handing departs from the actual necessary needs of avoiding war, and can be considered as fully reasonable under international law.
As discussed above, at present it has to be said that accompanying a war that ended more than 50 years ago, the claim from the Plaintiffs sustaining damage related to this case persecution behavior is justice going after one side, and cannot be adopted easily. The following discussion about legal issues only talks about the core part of he conclusion.
VII. It is not considered that the three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare passed at the Second International Conference in 1907 prescribed behavior that violated the attached Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, and individuals sustaining damage can directly demand damage compensation from the country engaged in war to which the individual with the above violating behavior belongs.
The three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare did not prescribe the above-mentioned individual’s compensation right is natural conclusion of traditional classical international law, the view to affirm such claim right only came from the thought there is room for such interpretation during its re-recognition of its drafting process from the 1980’s to 1990’s, and therefore proclaim to adopt such interpretation. even if in Europe and the United States, there is hardly any acknowledged case of damage compensation that are based on three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, only until recently (1992). Bonn local court in Germany indicated the three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare contained interpretation of the above-mentioned individual claim right (The actual case was applicable to German domestic law, rather than direct application of the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare).
After giving overall consideration to the textual interpretation of three articles of Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, discussion in its legislation process, and execution condition afterwards, it can not at all acknowledge that this regulation had prescribed the claim right of individuals to directly demand damage compensation from the country engaged in war.
Furthermore, at least up till the time of the occurrence of this case, the point that individuals who suffered persecution behaviors from foreign country troops like in this case that violated war regulations such as Hague Regulations on Land Warfare and other international rules have the right to directly demand damage compensation from country engaged in war which gave rise to the above-mentioned behaviors has been accepted by International Customary Law can in no way be acknowledged.
VIII. Persecution behaviors in this case violated the “International Humanitarian Law” and “International Human Rights Law”, therefore the theory that individuals who have directly demanded damage compensation from our country as a country engaged in war which gave rise to nonhuman behaviors has been established International Customary Law cannot be acknowledged up till now. At least in this case back then, it can in no way be acknowledged that the “International Humanitarian Law” and “International Human Rights Law” that render the above-mentioned individual claim to be accepted have been established as International Customary Law.
IX. About the persecution behavior in this case, it is not allowed to apply the damage compensation claim right prescribed by the Civil Law of the Republic of China against illegal behaviors to our country by leveraging Clause 1 of Article 11 of at the time of occurrence based on this case.
It can not at all consider in the 31st year of Meiji that our country assumed that when war behaviors in Mainland China and other foreign countries and their collateral behaviors brought damage to foreigners in the place of war, the illegal behaviors should be applied to the occurrence of damage compensation claim right in private law of such country, our country is obliged to give damage compensation to such individuals based on foreign country’s private law. In other words, it is appropriate to consider that in this year the “illegal behaviors” in Clause 1 in Article 11 of the regulation being drafted and implemented do not include the above-mentioned illegal behaviors arising from war behaviors, and relating to foreign individuals’ damages under foreign private law. Besides, such interpretation is applicable at least until the promulgation of the national compensation law.
Such interpretation is arguably the foundation, nature and content of judicial rule and principle for “Nation Has No Accountability” called by our country before implementing national compensation law (i.e. the Plaintiff claims ‘Nation Has No Accountability’ is not something on the level of substantive law, for there is nothing of formality in the litigation formality, in current legal system ‘Nation Has No Accountability’ is not acknowledged, nor is there restraint in litigation in the past. The defendant claims that before the national compensation law is implemented, a nation’s non liability of compensation responsibility for civil servants who exercise official rights has been developed as substantive law. It can be argued that previously sentenced cases match the defendant’s claim.), it cannot be influenced by discussions on the nature of national compensation laws and even the ultimate quality of private law or public law or its conclusion.
Therefore, regardless of how nonhuman the persecution behaviors are in this case, the Plaintiffs’ claim to demand damage compensation over persecution behavior in this case from our country based on articles on illegal behaviors prescribed by the Civil Law of the Republic of China in this case back then, and by leveraging Clause 1 of Article 11 of the Regulation can not in the least be acknowledged.
X. As mentioned above, damage compensation issue related to war behaviors, military actions, and the subsequent or accidentally occurred cruel behaviors, despicable behaviors by our country, the Japanese Army, the Japanese soldiers toward China and Chinese nationals etc at the occurrence of this case, is basically diplomatic issue and political issue that can be settled only through post-war peace treaty signed between countries. It is widely known that, in February 1972 US President Nixon visited China, and published Shanghai Communique (Sino-US joint declaration), in May in the same year Okinawa was returned to our country, on July 7 in the same year the first Kakue TANAKA cabinet was set up, Prime Minister Tanaka visited China, held meeting with Chairman Mao, on September 29 in the same year it published Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration, on August 12, 1978 (53rd year of Showa), Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty was signed, in December in the same year the Sino-American relation became normalized. In the joint declaration (joint declaration between the Japanese government and the government of the People’s Republic of China) there is such a sentence: “The Japanese side was acutely aware of the responsibility for bringing significant damage to the Chinese people by Japan in the past war, and engage in deep reflection.” “V. For the sake of friendship between Chinese and Japanese peoples, the People’s Republic of Chinese government announced to abandon the claim for Japan to make war compensation.” In the peace agreement (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China) there is such a sentence: “…confirmed the above-mentioned joint declaration constitutes the foundation of friendly relation between two countries, it is imperative to strictly abide by all principles expressed through the above-mentioned joint declaration…” In summary, through the above-mentioned joint declaration and Treaty of Peace and Freidnship, Japan and China has reached consensus over “the government of the People’s Republic of China abandoned the claim toward Japan for war compensation for the sake of friendship between Chinese and Japanese peoples”. Of course, the Plaintiffs claimed this does not mean abandoning the claim for damage compensation of Chinese nationals as individual from our country, but about this point our court considers everything can only be settled through diplomatic means between countries, individual’s right to directly demand damage compensation fom our country cannot be acknowledged after all.
XI. As mentioned above, out court considered that, despite the nonhuman degree of the persecution behaviors in this case, if there is no compensation then the Plaintiffs’ justice in the Civil Law level will be sacrificed, in terms of international law and our country law in this case back then, the Plaintiffs’ legal right to direct; demand damage compensation to our country over war damage due to persecution behavior in this case cannot be acknowledged, besides if the utmost effort to avoid repeating war and war status is regarded as the ultimate subject, not acknowledging the above-mentioned individual’s claim right of damage compensation not only can be deemed reasonable, and it also complies with greater justice for the whole mankind.
[No. 24 Civil Department of Tokyo Local Court Chief Judge Justice Go ITO Justice Tomonari HONTA, Justice Jun HAYASHI (Justice Jun HAYASHI is unable to give signature and seal due to post transfer] (translated by Zhu Chunli Wu Guangyi)
A letter to Japanese nationals and the Japanese government
Japanese Prime Minister Keizo OBUCHI, Foreign Minister Yohei KONO and all Japanese nationals,
I very much thank the understanding, sympathy and support from far-sighted social groups, parties, and nationals in Japan toward us Chinese victims; I thank moral, legal and economic assistance and support from progressive lawyers, all members of the Supporting Society and other friends in Japan over the years. We will forever remember yout kindness in our heart and tell our descendants.
I also saw Justice Go ITO, who finally admitted in the face of facts: “Sino-Japanese War is an (invasion) war without justice, hope and future, it was arbitrarily waged and expanded by the (militarist government)”; “In this case, all the persecution behaviors of the Japanese Army are nonhuman, the painful persecution facts sustained by the Plaintiffs themselves, their husband, parents, and brothers are evident to see in the verification and debate process of all evidences”, “in this case the persecution behavior of the Japanese Army violated the war guideline of the world”.
It’s a pity that, owing to a variety of reasons, the justice dared not to adhere to truth, and bucked the current global trend, misjudged us, and rejected our litigation appeal.
In the ruling it said: “(The Japanese government) shall sincerely apologize to the Chinese people”; “The victims’s problem shall be settled through negotiation between two governments”. Now what will the Japanese government prepare to do! We are waiting to see real actions taken by the Japanese government!
The blow of this time’s erroneous judgment to us victims is no inferior to the blow to us at the time of incident occurrence back then. Especially the blow to our soul, which makes us feel very painful and indignant. The justice ran contrary to the aim of law to uphold justice, safeguard humanity, respect human dignity, and promote social progress, and adopted reality-evading attitude. The court kicked the issue of compensation settlement to the Japanese government. This violated the commitment of “Chinese victims can commission Japanese lawyers, and settle this issue through Japanese court”, told us by officials of the China Section, Asia Bureau, when we victims visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country in the middle of August 1995.
Today, if the Japanese government headed by the Liberal Democratic Party wants to clarify its intention of committing to real Sino-Japanese friendship, then it must squarely face and properly handle this realistic problem. Apology without compensation is false apology.
I firmly believe in “Bad deeds, as well as good, may rebound upon the doer”.
WWII victim: Gao Xiongfei (name seal)
1999.12.23 in Hangzhou China
The attitude was always vague, neither acknowledged these facts, nor denied these facts. This is a kind of behavior that despised the victims, and also cunning evasion behavior. The defendant finally anticipated the court to foil the Plaintiff on the pretext of “no legal foundation”. After tough wrestling, the court finally agreed to let the victims to appear in court to describe the persecution facts and organized meticulous investigation. For 7 times the court allowed appearances of the victim himself, or family members, or testifiers totaling 9 persons to show up in the court to describe persecution facts or give testimony.
Afterwards the defendant deviated in the applicable scope of “International public law” and “International private law”. Finally when the defendant had nothing more to say, it proposed “exemption of responsibility for countries” theory, namely: A nation takes no responsibility for its behavior in war. This is the principle of constitution at the time of Japan Meiji Reform more than 100 years ago. In the modern age when individual respect has been established, and claim by individuals against nation has become international trend, it is absolutely unreasonable, and also shameful to resort to such theory in order to evade war responsibilities.
Throughout the 18 sessions of prolonged court debate spanning about 3 and half years, the Plaintiff side delivered speeches eloquently, which were supported by facts and evidences, forceful and eloquent, the defendant ran out of words, and finally became speechless.
On July 29, 1998, Gao Xiongfei for the first time confronted the representative of the Japanese government at Civilian Tribunal 103 of Tokyo Local Court.
The court lasted 125 minutes. Gao Xiongfei answering the justice’s “inquiry” took about 95 minutes. He said eloquently with neither overbearing nor servile attitude:
Q: When did you begin to think of demanding compensation from the Japanese government?
A: Ever since I was a child.
Q: What prompted you to think of the possibility of lodging claim?
A: When I read article by Tong Zeng on the “Legal Daily” (Note: On May 20, 1991 the “Legal Daily” published an article by Tong Zeng “War Compensation and Damage Compensation in International Law”, which was widely reprinted, it was then Chinese people came to know the difference between war compensation and damage compensation)
Q: Is there any other causes that makes you think the claim is possible?
A: The reply given to Japanese journalists in April 1992 before Jiang Zemin visited Japan and on March 7, 1995 the reply given by Qian Qichen to NPC delegate Liu Caipin, they both clarified China only abandoned war compensation in the “Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration”, but it had not given up civilian damage compensation.
Q: What real actions have you taken for the claim?
A: In 1992 when the Emperor Akihito visited China, I delivered a complaint letter to the Japanese Embassy in China, but received no reply.
Q: How about your consideration about the legal foundation for the claim?
A: It violated the appendix “Rules on the Customs of Regulations on War on Land” of the Hague Regulations on Land Warfare, which banned attack on cities with no air defense facility.
Q: Was Yong An a city without defense?
Q: Finally what do you demand the court to do?
A: I demand the Japanese government to give then apologize and compensation. I am only one of the many victims, for the sake of justice and peace of the mankind, for the sake of friendship between Chinese and Japanese peoples, I hope the court can stand on the ground of protecting humanity, safeguarding peace, upholding justice, adhering to truth, and preserving human dignity to give reasonable impartial sentence.
Excluding routine procedures such as oath taking, identification, confirmation of the Plaintiff and the defendant, the court almost became personal forum of Gao Xiongfei for denouncing atrocities of the Japanese Army, and declaring claim legality. The chief justice Go ITO changed the topic to ask the defendant “do you have any questions”, after a period of whisper consultation, the 9 solicitors of the defendant side answered dejectedly:
”No question. ”
So the hearing ended. This case attracted worldwide attention. Asahi TV Station, Asahi Shinbun, New Century Chinese Cable TV Station and media from the United States and other countries all reported this time’s hearing.
The shameful ruling ——every minute and every second seemed so extraordinary for Gao Xiongfei
In the morning of September 22, 1999, solicitors gathered at Room 507 of the Solicitor Clubhouse early, making preparations before the ruling. At 12: 45, we left for the court.
On the road in front of the court, we braved the rain and held a banner in a parade, along the way many journalists took photo of our trip to win victory of the litigation.
At 13: 00, we the Plaintiff, solicitors, family members and interpreters totaling 30 persons entered the Court 103. I saw victims family member Wang Xuan who returned from the US, Professor Takao MATSUMURA who returned to Japan from Britain, honorary Professor Hiroshi FUJIMOTO from Shizuoka Prefecture, Mr. Toshio TOYONAGA, Director of Support Bureau from Sendai, Tatsuo Kage, chief person of the peace organization from Canada, along with many other familiar friends……
13: 13, 8 solicitors of the defendant side (7 man 1 woman) entered the court. During judicial activities, usually solicitors should wear solicitor badge, but none of them was wearing the solicitor badge in front of the chest. This is because the badge carries a symbol of scale in the middle, which represents solicitor’s duty to safeguard fairness and uphold justice. They dared not look us squarely in the face, either looked up at the ceiling, or looked down at their own knees.
13: 20, two clerks entered the court.
13: 25, three justices dressed in black robes took seat.
13: 26, TV journalists looked around the courtroom and took 1 minute video footage before exiting.
13: 27, 18 journalists entered one by one soundlessly.
13: 28, Go ITO began to lower his head, as if he were saying prayers.
The court room was so quiet that even the sound of a needle falling on the floor could be heard. ITO coughed once, as if moistening his throat, or bolstering up courage.
At 13: 00, ITO began to read the sentence in a very low voice. The reading lasted 10 seconds, only contined three sentences: “Reject all litigation claims from the Plaintiff; all expenses are to be borned by the Plaintiff: Please refer to written statement for reasons.”
When the interpreter translated to me from the back row, ITO and two other justices had quickly left the court room. I only saw their back when they escaping. From the beginning of ruling to the justice leaving the court there was only took 20 seconds.
The clerk respectively put two rulings to the hands of team leaders of each lawyer team, for signature by team leaders.
At this moment, the Plaintiff’s family members burst into tears. I also felt indignant. All lawyers stood up due to anger, whereas the lawyers for the defendant lowered their heads, and bowed to leave.
On the audience seat, at first people were whispering to each other, because no one heard the sentence clearly. Later when they understood, all became angry! Someone shouted: “Go ITO is not eligible as judge!”
Go ITO was a justice being promoted due to long years of work as solicitor, in Japan one justice could have a maximum tenure of 5 years. Through 18 times of court room debate, he clearly knew the persecution facts were undeniable. However, in the face of pressure from the Japanese government, if he failed to sentence the Plaintiff to lose the case, his justice career might end. Therefore, he tried his utmost to postpone the ruling date, from the original March 22 to June 22, 1999, and finally to September 22, which could not be delayed any longer.
In the court room he played the trick of “Unnoticed escape”. He was afraid of meeting the eyes of the Plaintiff and those spectators. Excluding the 1 minute of TV video when he raised his head, he kept his head down and remained silent. Before reading the ruling, he deliberately coughed to bolster his confidence. He adopted the tactics of “three phrases in 10 seconds, immediate departure”, and dared not to mention even the reason of the ruling, doesn’t all these imply ITO’s guilty conscience?
ITO resorted to the excuse of reading written materials, and the so-called reason, even ITO himself was clear, in the end there’s no sound reason, in order to “escape unnoticed” he must fabricate some “reasons”. He adopted the tricks of “disguised replacement of concept”, “distorting facts”, “paint oneself pretty”, “fishing in troubled waters” and “lodge counter-charges” to swindle the Plaintiff and the public opinion, trying to exonerate the Japanese government from the crime and shirk the responsibility of incorrect ruling.
The ruling delineated the true nature of the Japanese government, which made Gao Xiongfei indignant:
Although the ruling had 250 pages, its key points are as follows:
1. Reject the Plaintiff’s litigation claim:
2. Japan’s military actions against China were invasion behaviors, which brought damage to the Chinese people, and it must sincerely apologize to Chinese nationals;
3. Nanjing Massacre existed, the human body bacteria experiment of the “Unit 731 Troop” is beyond doubt;
4. There is no instance of individual victims of war demanding compensation from a nation, and it would extremely rare even if such case exists. Victims demanding compensation and apology from the country of persecution is inconsistent with upholding Japan’s dignity;
5. The court considered the Chinese people’s sentiment of suffering from disaster damage should be mollified, the Japanese government should consider this issue to the maximum degree;
6. Individual persecution in war must be settled through peace treaty between countries and other diplomatic means, individual claim of victims after signing peace treaty will interfere with the friendly relation established by the peace treaty, and is therefore harmful.
In this time’s ruling, since there were over 270 pieces of evidences being submitted to the court, which revealed the permanent and irrefutable fact of Japan’s invasion into China. The justice was forced to admit the invasion facts of the Japanese Army. Meanwhile it also confirmed “Nanjing Massacre” and “Crimes of Unit 731 Troop”, and acknowledged the fact of “Yong An Disaster”. Thus marked the successful results of Chinese and Japanese peoples in their fight against vicious forces over the past 5 years.
The ruling also confirmed the persecution facts of the victims due to persecution of the Japanese Army! This is because many evidences are Class 1 evidences with historical significance. Like film negatives taken by American church missionary John Magee when Li XX was receiving treatment in Nanjing Gulou Hospital; like “Crimes of Unit 731 Troop” evidences supplied by Harbin Archives Office and Museum; like reports on “Yong An Disaster” of the “Southeast Daily” on November 6 and November 22, 1943, and reports & articles of “Mourning Mr. Zheng Kai”. In front of irrefutable facts and evidences, the judges had no way to deny.
In the history of Japanese court, this marked the first time of the confirmation of these crimes, the court ruled that the Japanese government and Japanese nationals must sincerely apologize to Chinese nationals, this is also the first time. Therefore it possesses profound meanings: It will influence the confirmation of the Japanese Army’s persecution crimes in other claim cases; it will change many past misunderstandings of history for many Japanese civilians for a long time to come. Meanwhile for many rightist organizations such as “Association for Confirming the Fabrication of Nanjing Massacre”, they lost the foundation of existence, therefore it also dealt a heavy blow to the rightist forces.
Confirmation of criminal facts is the prerequisite of demanding sincere apology and compensation from the Japanese government, therefore overall speaking, till now we only moved the first precious step.
The Japanese government also was aware of the depth of its crimes, yet it still obstinately refused to give compensation, and further fabricated many so-called reasons. Just like what Kouken TSUCHIYA, former President of Japan Federation of Bar Association, said: “The court only spent 20 seconds to announce the ruling for this important lawsuit case, this is unreasonable. The ruling also lacked judicial foundation, since it ruled the persecution facts stated by the victims are correct and unmistakable, it implies the victims have the right to demand compensation, the Japanese government and the court should confront this fact.”
The ruling said, there was no case of individual victims of war who demanded compensation and apology from the offending country. This is sheer nonsense. Take Japan as an example, Japan’s expatriates in the USA and Canada during the WWII were under house arrest by the US government due to the “Pearl Harbor Incident”, and Japanese expatriates demanded compensation from the US government, in 1991 they received apology from President Bush and obtained compensation from the US government. As for compensations claims by victims in Western Europe countries against Germany are even more numerous, therefore the essence of the matter is the Japanese government is unwilling to sincerely confess its crime.
The ruling said: Individual victims in war should settle the compensation issue through peace treaty between countries and other diplomatic means. This is naturally true. Nevertheless: It never occurred to Japanese government to settle these issues through peace treaty and other diplomatic means, the Japanese government only tried to cover up crimes, deny crimes through peace treaty and diplomatic mean, haven’t you seen what some officials of the Japanese government and the rightists have done after the peace treaty was signed? Altering history textbooks; “Nanjing Massacre is fabricated”; occupied our country’s territory Diaoyu Island; visited Yasukuni shrine……many Chinese victims began writing letters to the Japanese Embassy in China, in which they stated persecution facts, and demanded the Japanese government to solve the problem. But the Japanese Embassy cheated them by saying: “The compensation problem has already been solved”, when it found it was no longer possible to cheat, it said it was a matter for the Ministry of Justice, never had they given a sincere answer to Chinese victims. The Japanese government adopted “first cheating, second procrastination, third buck passing, fourth denial” method to treat Chinese victims. Is there any slightest trace of attitude for sincere settlement of problem?! How will it be possible to settle the problem through peace treaty and other diplomatic means?! If the Japanese government wants to settle the problem through peace treaty and other diplomatic means like what is said in the court sentence, I think the Chinese government will definitely welcome it and give close cooperation.
In summary, the so-called “settlement through diplomatic means” is merely a kind of excuse, with which it evaded court responsibility. The ruling said: “After peace treaty is signed, individual victims filed litigation……” This is even more nonsense aiming to intimidate. For a long time in the past, it was officials of the Japanese government and its acknowledged rightist organizations and many rightists that damaged Sino-Japanese friendship relation.
The ruling said “regardless of how nonhuman the persecution behaviors are in this case, it would be impossible to accept claim for compensation……Furthermore, if it is mankind’s overriding mission to avoid re-outbreak of war, then it is reasonable not to acknowledge individual’s right of claim for damage compensation.”
Here, the Chinese people once again learned the “essence” of the so-called reason by these people.
If their words are paraphrased more clearly, it means “Bandits kill and burn with good reasons, victims are unjustified when they catch the bandits’ vicious perpetrating hands”, isn’t it the same with the “invasion is justified” preached by Japan more than 60 years ago?
In the World War II, the total number of other country’s nationals massacred by Japanese Invasion Army in overseas countries far surpassed the total number of Japanese nationals back then, for such an invasion-prone country, till today it still refuses to admit crime, refuse to assume invasion responsibilities, and instead shamelessly talked about “mankind’s overriding mission”.
Here they explicitly told we Chinese people, no matter how cruel, barbarian, and cunning their invasion crimes are, no peace-loving people can investigate them. Otherwise it would “destroy peace”, and “trigger war”.
The Charters of the United Nations pointed out: “……for the sake of long-lasting peace and tranquility of the human society, countries that wage invasion war must be investigated in its responsibility for waging the war……”
Here isn’t the Japanese government flagrantly confronting the Charters of the United Nations? Is it real that such kind of countries even want to become a permanent member of the United Nations Securities Council!
In the Japanese invasion war period, more than 35 million Chinese compatriots were massacred, if so many people were lined up on the Great Wall, the line can extend for ten rows from Shanhai Pass to Jiayu Pass, much more than the total population of Zhejiang Province and Fujian Province back then. The invasion war at least brought economic damage of up to 600 billion US dollars to China, which could be used to build over 230 of “Beijing-Kowloon” railways from Beijing to Hong Kong; or highways that can encircle the earth’s equator for 12 circles, each province can be allocated more than 30 expressways running the distance from Hangzhou to Wenzhou. With so many casualties, and so huge loss, could Japan gloss over the case without any sincerity, and without any symbolic payment?
Chinese Plaintiffs and the lawyers felt not satisfied with first-instance ruling, filed appeal to the Tokyo High Court. It may very possibly be another prolonged fight, and even then, it may possibly be another incorrect ruling. However, nothing can hinder the determination of Gao Xiongfei and others to claim justice. Anti-Japanese claim is a task with heavy burden and long road, Gao Xiongfei spoke out: Chinese nationals, take action, don’t keep silent, don’t relax, and don’t feel benumbed!
Confronted with the incorrect ruling of the court, apart from the Plaintiff who immediately issued strong protest, Japanese lawyer immediately pointed out: “This is unfair ruling!” Lawyer Urumu Sasamoto held an “Unfair ruling” banner in front of the court gate; friendly organizations put up banner in front of the court house to express protest.
Furthermore, at 16: 00 in the afternoon of that day, the lawyers and the Supporting Society also immediately published an “Announcement” at the press conference held at the court’s judicial interview hall, it pointed out: the ruling let down the world community, and violated justice and humanity, one of the most fundamental concepts of law and litigation. The ruling not only lost trust among the Chinese represented by the Plaintiff, but would also lose trust among people of all nations worldwide. The Announcement decided to immediately file appeal. The struggle will be continued till the final victory. Meanwhile it also solemnly declared: Establish the historical knowledge acknowledged grudgingly by this ruling as universal understanding within the national context, and make continual efforts by targeting at the fulfillment of post-war compensation law.
On September 30, the Chinese Plaintiffs and the lawyers lodged appeal to the Tokyo High Court over the unfair ruling.
This time’s litigation very likely will become a long protracted fight, very probably it would last 3 to 5 years, and it may very possibly be another incorrect ruling. We must be mentally prepared. This is because we must convince others by sound reasoning when reason things out with others, it cannot be quickly solved like using military means.
The impact of Japanese invasion on China’s development in terns of historical stagnation and historical side effects is inestimable. Japan has committed such towering crimes in China, has it received its due lesson and punishment?! Never. Has China settled account of war with it?! No.
A war without final settlement is a long lasting shame of the Chinese people.
If the old debt with Japan is not settled, it would be a pity for the dead ancestors, for ourselves, and for our offsprings. What’s more crucial is that, justice should not be trampled, dignity must be upheld, fair treatment must be reclaimed! W (Editor Xiao Fangxing)
●Appeal letter by Chinese WWII victims●
Please aid us!!!
Please support us!!!
Respected compatriots, respected international friends,
We are victims of the Japanese Army’s invasion war. The Anti-Japanese War ended 53 years ago! But the trauma of war remained till today, without receiving effective treatment.
In view of the blatant denial of invasion war crimes by a very small group of Japanese militarists, in order to uphold the dignity of we Chinese people, also for the long lasting friendship between Chinese and Japanese peoples for generations to come, with support from peace-loving people in Japan, some of victims began to file litigation at Tokyo local court in batches in the 1990’s, to sue the Japanese government, and demand the Japanese government to admit crimes in invasion war, apologize to Chinese victims and give damage compensation. Tokyo local court has accepted the case, and has opened hearing for many times. Judging from court opening condition, the Japanese government demonstrated malicious attitude, till today it hasn’t admitted crimes……
In Japan, many people from peace and friendship organizations offered sincere aid and support to the “damage compensation”, but in the motherland of the victims themselves, we still could hardly see any reports, aid and support.
Japanese court is a tool to provide service to the Japanese government, so in front of indisputable facts and evidences, they still may risk everyone’s condemnation, disregard facts and truths, resort to sophistry, totally ignore international public law and international established practices, and make erroneous rulings. Only under tremendous pressure of social public opinions, Japanese courts may be compelled to make comparatively fair and reasonable ruling.
On August 29 1997, Japan’s supreme court ruled a “textbook litigation case” lasting 32 years. Japanese historian Saburo IENAGA cherished dauntless spirit, and insisted on telling the truths of history to later generations. with support from justice-upholding people both inside and outside Japan, supporting organizations grew from 2000 persons to 20000 persons, over 6000 signatures from both inside and outside Japan for supporting IENAGA were sent to the supreme court, which forced the Japanese court to sentence the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology had “partially violated law”.
Not long ago, one local court in Japan sentenced South Korea “comfort women” to win the litigation case, one of the reasons is that South Korea’s all social circles, governmental or nongovernmental, imposed tremendous pressure of public pressure on the Japanese government. In the past South Korea “comfort women” would gather in front of the Japanese embassy in South Korea in Seoul to stage demonstration each Wednesday afternoon, they complained at the United Nations, they canvassed in the “White House”, they delivered reports in Australia, they exhibited photos in Canada…… Whereas one of the reasons of the failure of our Chinese labor case “Hanaoka Incident”, is that most Chinese knew nothing, nor were there any aid activity, let alone staying united, form the beginning to the end there lacked pressure of public opinion on the sentence. We must absorb lessons. We should learn from Korean people, learn from Jewish people, and learn from General Zhang Xueliang.
The experience of Chinese victims epitomizes the disaster and hardships suffered by we Chinese people in the aftermath of invasion, therefore Chinese civilian claim against Japan is in no way a small matter for individual victims; it represents a big issue that we Chinese people dare to demand justice from the Japanese government which has behaved as an invader since the first Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895; it is a major issue for upholding our national dignity; or involving the political foundation of Sino-Japanese friendship.
The litigation against Japan is firstly a political lawsuit case to demand the Japanese government to admit invasion crimes; and secondly it an economic lawsuit case to demand the Japanese government to effectively perform responsibility and duty for damage compensation; litigation against Japan is also a mass activity to let officials of the Japanese government and the younger-generation Japanese receive education on persecution facts; it is a component of Sino-Japanese friendship non-governmental activity. The significance of litigation against Japan is not merely for making contribution to Sino-Japanese sincere friendship, making contribution to Japan’s pursuit of a road of peaceful development, and also making contribution to Asian and global peace, and further making historical contribution to the future of the whole mankind.
War compensation has been abandoned by the government, if the civilian claim fails, our generation will find it difficult to give satisfactory explanations to ancestors lying underground and our offspring!!! Stand aloof from thins of no personal interest, look on with cold indifference, are signs of lacking national integrity.
According to survey by Japanese friends, in today’s Japan, in very 10000 people, only 3~5 persons admit to have invasion crimes in China in the history. Across Japan about 270 extreme rightist organizations are in rampant activity, some Japanese rightists activists frantically shouted: “if you Chinese think we have invaded you, why don’t you demand compensation from us? You have not demanded compensation from us, which itself proves we have not invaded you (China)”, “You give us the name list of 300,000 victims of Nanjing Massacre, if you cannot produce it, it proves the Nanjing Massacre is fabricated”. Strings of prime ministers, and ministers visited Yasukuni shrine; some old invasion soldiers kowtowed toward the emperor in front of the shrine to show “arrogance”; our country’s territory Diaoyu Island is named as “Japanese territory” in Japan’s textbooks; in May this year the movie “Pride—Moment of Destiny”, a movie for beautifying war criminals, was played in all regions across Japan; they reinforced “Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security” and included Taiwan Strait of our country……All these are evidenced that the Japanese militarism is staging a comeback.
We Chinese people can no longer be cheated by double-faced propaganda by Japanese militarists!
We Chinese people should no longer remain benumbed and indifferent! We should no longer live without vigilance! Otherwise our offsprings will have endless trouble and never any peace!!!
Aiding surviving Chinese war victims is patriotic behavior!
Let’s unite together to claim justice from the Japanese government!
Al peace-loving people all over the world should unite! Strike back at the rampant Japanese militarism thought!
Chinese victims of WWII (and surviving family members): Gao Xiongfei
Li Xiuying Wang Yibing
Jing Lanzhi Wang huimin Geng Chun
Liu Lianren Li Wanzhong Li Xiu7mei
Hou Qiaolian Wan Aihua Xiao Jingxia
Hu Xianzhong Wang Xuan Yang Dafang
Xue Peize Fang Yunsheng Fang Surong
(Plaintiffs with 13 indictments against the Japanese government or enterprises)
October 30, 1998 in Beijing
Signature’s mailing address: 310012 Gao Xiongfei
Zhejiang College of Education Wensan Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
Overseas mailing address: テ113-0033 Bunkyo-ku Tokyo Japan
5F Hongo 2-11-6 Taniguchi Building
”Bunkyo Kyodo Law Firm”
I pushed the Japanese government onto the defendant seat
On November 4, 1943, in one frantic bombing by the Japanese Army, 5 year old Gao Xiongfei and his mother were ripped off right arm.
On August 7, 1995, after repeated hardships and setbacks, Gao Xiongfei (when he was an associate professor of a certain college of education in Zhejiang) finally pushed the Japanese government onto the defendant seat, he demanded the Japanese government to give apology and compensate 20 million yen of damage.
This is the first case of litigation by war victims against the Japanese government, and also the first in the world, the venue of hearing, is not in a third country, instead it’s in Japan. More than 100,000 people from a number of countries signed names to call for impartial ruling by Japanese court.
In the afternoon of September 2, 1999, Chief Justice Go ITO of the No. 24 Civil Department of Tokyo Local Court delivered first-instance ruling for this “Unit 731 Troop, Nanjing Massacre, indiscriminate bombing” case including Gao Xiongfei’s appeal case, and rejected all claim requests from the Plaintiff……
Gao Xiongfei firmly refused to accept the result, and immediately appealed to the Tokyo Local High Court.
He said he would devote his lifelong effort to winning victory in the claim, reclaiming dignity, and forcing the Japanese government to admit crime!
”Indiscriminate bombing” refers to bombing of residential zones of common civilians without identifying military targets and non military targets. According to incomplete statistics, from July 1937 to July 1943, bombing of our country’s urban and rural areas by the Japanese Army killed 335, 943 persons, wounded 426,249 persons, the property loss was incalculable.
Whereas it was exactly in such bombing that the 5 year old Gao Xiongfei and his mother lost right arm:
For generations my family lived at Dangwan Village, Chengdong District, Linping Town, Yuhang, Zhejiang. Before the Anti-Japanese War, my parents worked in Huzhou. On November 23, 1937, one day before Huzhou fell into the hands of the enemy; we left Huzhou to evade the disaster. In order to survive, and not live as a colonial slave, we spent 7 years to travel between Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian covering a distance of 7000 km. In the spring of 1943 we reached Yong An City, the then provincial capital of Fujian Province during war time.
As the name implies, the Chinese name “Yong An” suggests a place of eternal peace, however Yong An during the Anti-Japanese period received more than 10 times of bombing totaling 170 sorties by Japanese military aircrafts. The one which inflicted the heaviest casualty to civilians is the bombing on November 4, 1943—— “Yong An Disaster”.
It was a sunny Thursday, the sun was warm and made people feel lethargic, at around 1 o’clock in the afternoon, which was lunch time, suddenly from far away people could hear the sound of alarm by beating basin, people hurried to look for shelter. But it was too late, 16 Japanese military aircrafts had already come in two batches, 8 aircrafts in each batch were hovering above. My mother had no time to collect the lunch articles, and hid ourselve including myself and two younger sisters under the table. Unexpectedly, a 500-pound heavy barrel-thick bomb landed near my home’s yard, and created a pit with a diameter of 1 meter on the ground, the shock wave whipped away the quilt we covered on the table, shrapnel darted around, and immediately ripped away two right arms of my mother and myself. Back then I was only 5, the severed arm was nowhere to be found, the tow persons instantly bled heavily, blood spurted toward the ceiling before falling to the floor, the floor was covered with blood, and we fainted.
Fortunately, with help from the then neighbors, who bandaged us simply, and carried us to the first-aid station, later we were transferred to Fujian Provincial Hospital In-patient Department. After 3-hour long sawing, suture and bandaging by surgeons, my mother and I were saved from the brink of death.
During this time’s “Yong An Disaster”, a city with 30000 population received a total of over 200 bombs, more than l0000 people were killed. The fire burned for 3 days and 3 nights on end, over 1000 houses on about 20 plus streets were destroyed, totaling over l0000 rooms, the number of the injured were inestimable, probably over 1000. Some people became “glued” to the wall to become “fly man”, namely dead body on the wall, under the impact of the bomb’s shock wave. Our compatriots’ heads, severed limbs, or intestines were suspended on trees, power cables, and power pole frames in the city center, the air was filled with the smell of gun powder, and the odor of blood, it was a horrible scene! The previously prosperous areas were all reduced to ash, almost everything disappeared in the bombing and burning, Yong An instantly was transformed into hell on earth, a dead city, empty city. Without grain, no one could survive, those still alive one after another left this city, property loss was at least above 400 million yuan.
Half month later, the road was still littered with over 500 bodies. No one came to claim them, nor did any one volunteer to buy them. After one month, the gun powder smell, blood odor and rotting stink continued to spread. There was not a blade of green grass on the land, and not a flying bird in the sky.
Since 1976, Gao Xiongfei tasted all hardship and traveled across China, and more than 100 pieces of evidences that he collected became irrefutable evidences of atrocities committed by the Japanese Army.
In August 1995, Japanese court finally accepted this civil persecution claim case for Japanese aircraft “Big Bombing”. In the ensuing 18 court hearings spanning 4 years, the plaintiff side was self confident on the strength of being right, and the defendant had a weak case, Gao Xiongfei won the first round:
In August 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in the WWII, the then Prime Minister was Tomiichi MURAYAMA, who was relatively open-minded. Regardless of which side would win, any Japanese court would earn money, therefore the court accepted our case, which was allocated to 24th Civil Department. The serial number of the case was No. 15636.
The first oral debate was held on November 29, 1995, from the beginning solicitors from both sides began fierce debate. The defendant side solicitor considered Chinese Plaintiff had no right to lodge compensation claim against the Japanese government. The initial reason was “time effectiveness”, generally the time effectiveness of civilian litigation is 20 years. Nevertheless, for injury crime caused by war, time effectiveness does not apply. Because in 1968, the United Nations passed a resolution: “Arrest of Nazi war criminal is not subject to 30 years of ‘time effectiveness’ restriction of international law. ” (“World Weekly” Issue 642, June 5, 1996). It was not until the signing of “Sino-Japanese peace Treaty” in 1978 that declared the termination of war status between China and Japan, so that it became possible for common civilians to lodge compensation claim against the Japanese government. In other words, even if the time effectiveness was acknowledged as 20 years, then from l978, the time effectiveness is still valid. The “reason” of the defendant side was rejected.
Subsequently, the defendant side also put forward that in the “Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration”, the Chinese government has guaranteed to abandon war compensation claim from Japan. But this is also obvious change of concept by distorting facts. On the one hand, it is widely known that, compensation of defeat nation includes war compensatoin to governments of victory nations and damage compensation to people of the victory nation (also called damage compensation). In the joint declaration there is no mentioning of abandoning damage compensation, therefore Chinese victims are entitled to claim compensation; on the other hand, on March 11, 1992, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Civilian victims of Sino-Japanese War can directly ask Japan to compensate for loss”. In April 1, 1992, President Jiang Zemin also said when answering questions from journalists before his visit to Japan: “(China) abandoned war compensation from Japan as a nation, nevertheless, there is no restriction on the movement of civilian compensation.”……In summary, the right of Chinese civilians to claim compensation from Japan cannot be deprived, the Chinese government has not promised to abandon the right of civilian compensation, nor does it have the right to demand abandoning of the right of civilian compensation.
Through first round and second round confrontation, the defendant side finally sat down without any objection! The transformation from Chinese victims having the right to forcing the Japanese government to admiting Chinese victims have right was brought about by extremely hard work devoted by the solicitors.
Regarding the historical facts and persecution facts supplied by the Plaintiff to the defendant, the defendant side