Far Eastern Prisoners of War (FEPOW)
Veterans' Minister: £10,000 payments scheme extended to more civilians interned by Japan in Second World War
28 Mar 06
Veterans Minister Don Touhig has today announced an extension of the ex-gratia payment scheme for former Far East prisoners of war and civilian internees (FEPOW).
The scheme was introduced on 7 November 2000 to provide support to those who suffered internment by Japan during the Second World War. Individual payments of £10,000 were made to claimants who were normally resident in the United Kingdom before and after their internment. In March 2001, the criteria was changed to what became known as the Birthlink Criteria.
Veterans Minister Don Touhig said:
"In Dec 2005, I ordered a review of all 30,000 claims to the Far East Prisoners of War payment scheme, which recognises the terrible hardship of individuals who suffered during the Second World War.
"As a result of this review, I have decided to extend the scheme to individuals who lived in the UK for 20 years, since the Second World War, and up until the introduction of the scheme in November 2000.
As a result, we estimate that some 500 individuals will also receive ex-gratia payments of £10,000.
"We need to resolve details of how the 20 year rule will be applied and will publicise details of the qualifying criteria as soon as these are agreed. I would ask potential claimants not to apply until then so that they can provide the information required."
The decision to extend the criteria has involved discussions with the Association of British Civilian Internees - Far East Region (ABCIFER) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FEPOWS. Both ABCIFER and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FEPOWS have accepted the Minister's invitation to join a working group to consider how the 20 year rule should be applied.
1. The ex-gratia payment scheme for former Far East Prisoners of War (FEPOW) and civilian internees was announced on 7 November 2000. The scheme awarded a payment of £10,000 to certain individuals held captive by the Japanese or the surviving spouses of those who died. Some 25,000 payments have already been made.
2. Don Touhig, the Veterans Minister, announced a Review of the criteria that had been used for deciding payments to the scheme when he appeared before the Public Administration Select Committee on 1 December 2005.
3. The revised criteria announced to Parliament today will cover those civilian internees who were:
- interned by the Japanese during the Second World War; and were
- British at the time of internment; and one of the following:
- resident in the United Kingdom for 20 or more years in the UK as at 7 November 2000, or,
- named on a Japanese Asset record and interned or, would have met the Japanese Asset criteria ie interned and normally resident in the UK before the Second World War and returned shortly afterwards;
an interned child of the above or surviving spouse