Japanese gov't sued in visa refusal case

Updated: 2016-03-25 09:13


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TOKYO - Six representatives from China and Japan filed a complaint to the Tokyo District Court on Thursday, suing the Japanese government over interfering in freedom of assembly and speech, and seeking 6.6 million yen (about 58,740 US dollars) in compensation.

Last November, the Japanese government rejected visa request from 12 Chinese, including families of Chinese victims of Japan's notorious Unit 731, a chemical and biological warfare research base of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. They were invited to symposiums in Tokyo on wartime issues on Nov 27-29 last year.

The organizing committee of the symposiums has demanded an explanation from Japan's Foreign Ministry, but has got no answers so far.

The plaintiffs consist of three relatives of the Chinese victims of Unit 731 and three Japanese speakers of the symposiums.

Hiroshi Tanaka, one of the plaintiffs and a professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, said the Japanese government rejected their visas for no reason at all as many of the invited victims had been to Japan many times before.

He said it was very likely that the Japanese government was not satisfied with the theme of their symposiums which focused on "fighting against the Abe administration and abolishing war bills."

Takakage Fujita, another plaintiff and director general of a group established to uphold and develop the Murayama Statement, criticized the Foreign Ministry, saying their behavior goes against the visa issuance standards and interferes in communication between Japan and the Asian victim countries of the war.

He added that the government's actions are unbearable and are an infringement on their freedom of assembly.

Wang Xuan, representative of the Association of Chinese Victims of Germ Warfare, also joined this lawsuit, saying the Foreign Ministry should provide specific reasons for denying entry of the Chinese victims.