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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 March 27 - April 2  > Wartime Tsushima-Maru tragedy victims seek state compensation in court
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2013 March 27 - April 2 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Wartime Tsushima-Maru tragedy victims seek state compensation in court

April 2, 2013
Bereaved families of victims of the World War II Tsushima-Maru tragedy on April 1 filed a lawsuit against the Japanese government with the Naha District Court in Okinawa Prefecture seeking state apology and compensation.

Seven plaintiffs also include victims of unexploded bomb incidents after the war.

In a news conference held after the filing of the suit, Zukeyama Shigeru, head of the counsel for the plaintiffs, said, “We cannot stand listening to the news about the attempt to create national defense forces and to revise Article 9 of the Constitution as that could lead to war. We will call for peace through our court struggle.”

Nosato Chieko, head of the plaintiffs group, said, “Western countries have been providing war compensation to those who deserve it, regardless of whether they were military personnel, civilian military workers, or just plain civilians. From an international point of view, it is shameful that the Japanese government has yet to recompense its own war victims.”

Tsushima-Maru tragedy
The ship, called Tsushima-Maru, carrying 1,788 passengers from Okinawa to Nagasaki on August 22, 1944 was hit by a torpedo from a U.S. submarine and sunk off Kagoshima. This accident claimed the lives of 1,418 people, including many elementary school students.

This trip was arranged by the national government, which was preparing battles in Okinawa. The state wanted women, children, and the elderly to leave the islands as they were considered to be obstacles in battles and also consumers of food needed for Japanese troops.
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