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Mitsubishi Materials Agrees to Reparations for Slave Workers

The victims were among about 40,000 Chinese brought to Japan in the early 1940s as forced laborers to make up for a domestic labor shortage.

Japan-based Mitsubishi Materials Corp. is attempting to atone for atrocities in its past, resolving a case that hearkens back to World War 2.

According to the New York Times, the company has apologized to Chinese workers who were forced to work in its predecessor company’s mines during World War II, and it signed an agreement in Beijing to compensate three surviving former laborers, to the tune of about $15,000 apiece.

The victims were among about 40,000 Chinese brought to Japan in the early 1940s as forced laborers to make up for a domestic labor shortage. An estimated 1 in 5 died due to violence and malnutrition at the hands of their captors.

Last year, Mitsubishi Materials also apologized for its harsh treatment of former U.S. prisoners of war, who were also used by the company as forced laborers.

The AP says the settlement, announced Wednesday, is the first ever that Mitsubishi Materials has reached with former forced laborers. At least two other Japanese construction companies β€” Kajima Corp. and Nishimatsu Co. β€” have taken similar steps to compensate smaller groups of victims, though a total of 35 companies have been implicated in the ordeal.

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