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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.

Further detail.
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:

4. Under the separate Japanese Asset Registration Scheme modest compensation payments were made in the 1950s to some who had been imprisoned or detained by the Japanese, following the UK's ratification of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. The British Government funded this from its share of the proceeds of liquidated Japanese assets.

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