HC Deb 28 February 1966 vol 725 cc898-9
37. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now press the Japanese Government to make additional finance available to enable compensation to be paid to those who were under the age of 21 years at the time of their internment in Japanese prison camps during the war.

Mr. George Thomson

No, Sir. The terms of the Treaty of Peace with Japan preclude any further claim against the Japanese of the kind suggested by the hon. Member.

Mr. Hunt

Is the hon. Member aware that one of my constituents was interned at the age of 15 and that it is very galling for him and others like him to see the booming prosperity of Japan today and yet to know that because of this arbitrary age limit it is quite impossible for them to be compensated for the hardship and suffering which they endured?

Mr. Thomson

I sympathise with the hon. Member in his efforts on behalf of his constituent, but it is unfortunately too late to do anything. I ought to explain, in fairness to the Japanese Government, that the exclusion of the under-21s from the original agreement had nothing to do with the Japanese. The total sum was agreed with the Japanese Government, but it was a British decision, taken by the Government in October, 1952, which decided to exclude the under-21s. I understand that the organisations of Far Eastern prisoners-of-war were associated with that decision at that time.