§ Major Beamish
asked the Minister of Pensions the present position with regard to the payment of Japanese assets in the United Kingdom under Article 14 of the 13W Treaty; and if he is now able to say whether he will extend the scheme to include orphans or parents of those who have died in captivity or since, where there is no widow eligible for a share.
The sum of £850,000 was available for the present distribution on the basis of £15 a share, calculations being based on meeting anything up to 56,000 claims.
Up to date, payments have been made to cover 41,000 applicants, including over 5,500 widows, and although the closing date was 1st December I have been lenient in this respect and have made payments or issued claim forms to a substantial number of applicants since that date.
As a large number of application forms are still outstanding, I am not yet able to draw up a precise balance sheet, but I anticipate that there will be just sufficient money in hand to enable me to include parents or orphans, where there is no widow eligible for a payment. Applications from dependants in these additional classes should be made immediately to the Ministry of Pensions, 18, Great Smith Street, Westminster, S.W.1. Applicants should bear in mind that only one claim can be made by any one family unit.
I would emphasise that this widening of the scheme will, of course, mean that the amount available for any second distribution will be correspondingly reduced.
With regard to civilian internees, I have interpreted the residential requirements generously to include all those who had roots in the United Kingdom before the war and are living here now.
I am unable to state at present what sum will eventually be realised from the remainder of these Article 14 Japanese assets in the United Kingdom. The liquidation is proving a lengthy and difficult process and may take anything from one to three years to complete.