Agence France-Presse (“JAPAN RULING DENIES CHINESE RIGHT TO WAR DAMAGES”, 2007-04-30) reported that Japan’s top court ruled that PRC people do not have the right to seek war reparations, in two landmark verdicts rejecting compensation to World War II sex slaves and forced labourers. The Supreme Court was ruling on the issue for the first time amid continued friction between the two Asian powers over memories of Japanese occupation. The court’s decisions are in line with the Japanese government’s position that war reparations are a matter between nations and not between governments and individuals.

  • Questions:
  • When a military dictator (Korea’s Park Chung Hee) settles colonial reparations with a mostly democratic nation (Japan circa 1965), did anyone give a hoot about individuals in the first place?
  • How can the rightwing Japanese media wonder why no one in the rest of Asia believes the apologies coming out of politicians’ mouths? Abridged version of Kono resolution combined with court rulings: “We’re sorry you were hurt, but we the government don’t owe you anything except our mouths flapping in the wind.”