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H.K. protesters urge Japan to honor military scrip.

HONG KONG, Nov. 27 Kyodo

About 80 elderly Hong Kong residents staged a protest march Tuesday urging the Japanese government to honor the military scrip that they were forced to convert their local currency into during World War II.

''The Japanese government has gone too far!'' chanted the protesters as they marched toward the Japanese Consulate General here to hand in their protest letter.

''Stop discriminating against the Chinese in Hong Kong,'' they shouted.

The group said they are dissatisfied with the Japanese Supreme Court's dismissal of their appeal last month demanding compensation from the Japanese government for forcibly converting their local currency into military scrip in 1943 following Japan's occupation of the territory in December 1941.

They are also unhappy that Japan's highest court did not give any reason for not hearing their case.

''We hope the prime minister stops discriminating against Chinese people and honors the military currency that Japan issued,'' the group said in its protest letter to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The group claimed the military scrip that they hold is now worth HK$11 billion (about US$1.4 billion).

They also questioned why Japan honored the military currency issued in Taiwan but not that in Hong Kong.

Their legal suit against the Japanese government was first filed in 1993, but both Tokyo district and Tokyo high courts ruled that Japan is not obliged to compensate them.

The Supreme Court dismissed their appeal in October, ending the eight-year-long case.

The Japanese Finance Ministry declared the military scrip worthless after the war in 1945.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Dec 3, 2001
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