More than 50 years after the end of the war, former prisoners of Japan will each be paid $25,000 compensation.
The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Association fought for many years to get compensation for the horrors its members suffered at the hand of the Japanese.
An allocation amount of almost $250 million will provide compensation similar to that given by Canada, Britain and New Zealand.
More than 2600 former prisoners of war and about 370 former civilian internees will be eligible. The payment will also be made available to about 6600 widows and widowers of prisoners of war and civilian internees.
It will be tax-exempt and excluded from income and assets tests for pensions and other benefits. For Jim Elliott of 2/4th, no sum of money can compensate for 3 1/2 years he endured as a prisoner of Japan.
Mfr. Elliott who is president of 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion Ex-Members Assoc. believes there are just over 100 former PoWs left in WA.
He was taken prisoner in February 1942 along with 15,000 Allied soldiers when Singapore fell to the advancing Japanese.
He first worked on the Singapore wharves and was then sent to the Thai-Burna Railway for a year. He spent a final year in a copper mine in Japan.
Vererans’ Affairs Minister Bruce Scott said the one-off payment acknowledged the unique hardship and suffering endured by Australians in Japanese Prisoner of War Camps.
From The West Australian Newspaper 23 May 2001.