HC Deb 29 April 1952 vol 499 cc70-1W
87. Mr. Teeling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Japanese assets in Malaya, Hong Kong and other Colonies were confiscated after the Japanese surrender; to what purposes they have been applied; why companies with a claim in Malaya were not compensated out of assets confiscated in other British Colonies; and why, therefore, holders of Japanese sterling bonds in England or neutral countries, should be asked to forgo what is owed to them, for this purpose, if other Japanese moneys in Hong Kong and elsewhere are not similarly used.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I am informed that the value of the Japanese assets in Government custody in Far Eastern British territory is estimated as follows:

Malaya £4,666,000
Singapore £2,570,000
North Borneo £1,258,000
Sarawak £336,000
Hong Kong £1,250,000

These assets can be retained by Her Majesty's Government under Article 14 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan which came into effect yesterday. They therefore have not yet been applied for any purpose.

Other British Far Eastern territories as well as Malaya have substantial claims in respect of acts by the Japanese during the war. It was decided not to pool claims and assets amongst the Far Eastern territories partly because the principal assets are not easily realisable and, in practice, can, therefore, only be fully exploited locally. There is no reason to suppose that under these ararngements Malaya has received less than its fair share.

I am informed that, in the territories to which I have referred, a large proportion of the former Japanese assets has been earmarked for the purposes of local war damage compensation schemes.

The claims of holders of Japanese sterling bonds are a different matter. Under Article 18 (b) of the Peace Treaty Japan herself has affirmed her liability in respect of the bonds in question and stated her intention of undertaking early negotiations with the bondholders and facilitating subsequent transfers of sterling.