Korean Hiroshima Survivors Want $$$—from Japan

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2009 4:29 PM CST
A pavilion is seen in Hapcheon, South Korea in this file photo.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – Hapcheon residents think they live in the unluckiest town in earth. When Japan occupied the tiny South Korean farming community during World War II, it sent locals to work in munitions factories—in Hiroshima. Thousands of Hapcheon residents died instantly when the bomb dropped. The rest were shunned when they returned to Korea, facing a life of poverty and loneliness. Now, they want Japan to pay them for that emotional pain, the LA Times reports.

On Monday, about 300 Hapcheon residents, together with survivors from other countries, will file a reparations suit against Japan. Japan utterly ignored foreign survivors until 2007, when a court ruled they could receive benefits. Since then, Japan has offered to pay for their health costs, but not for their emotional damages. “We’re poor farmers, and we are dying off,” said one. “For Japan to repay us, the amount is uncountable.”