Jump to content
antarmike

Compensation paid to Japanese POW's

Recommended Posts

I am trying to find out what payment the Japanese government made to former POW's.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/48238.stm

 

The above site indicates that £76 10s was paid to each former prisoner.

It also indicates that this was in the 1950's.

 

I as because whilst clearing my late Mother's house I have happened across some Promissory note (bank notes) from the Japanese Government. One is for 50 Cents, another is for 1 cent. I will scan one in shortly.

 

Can anyone suggest how I can find the exchange rate for £76.50 into Japanese Cents in the fifties. Or can anyone suggest a website where I might find further info.

 

I am trying to work out if there would have been other notes, but as yet I have not found them.

 

I know that my father who had been in Changi since the fall of Singapore, and who came out 3 1/2 years later in very poor physical and mental health, having seen 1/4 of those around him die, thought the payment derisory and din't even bother to cash the notes.

 

Are these notes rare? do they have any value today? I do not intent to sell them, they are part of our families history, but I was wondering in any museum might like to display them, or whether a good number of these notes have survived.

Edited by antarmike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this tale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_historical_exchange_rates

 

I guess when thinking about it what was £76.50 in 1956 worth in the UK and Japan. I guess about a fortnights pay in the UK??? (now it is a tank of petrol)

 

So I can understand why nobody would think it was adequate compensation as even if you equated it to 1940's it was most likely a months salary or even two ut that dont equate to anything like 3 years

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on a currency converter on the National Archives Online site (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/results.asp#mid) £76 10s was worth circa £1,300 in 2005 (I think the site needs updating, bt 2005 is close enough I think)

 

 

After the war, to avoid the Yen crashing completely and taking the already decimated Japanese economy with it, the value of the yen was apparently fixed to the value of the US Dollar at a value of US$1 to 360 Yen. This lasted from 1949 to 1973

 

According to this site; http://fx.sauder.ubc.ca/etc/USDpages.pdf US$1 was worth £0.35714 in 1995

 

So in 1955:

£77.00 (rounding up to avoid shillings calcuation) = US$215.40

US$215.60 = JPY77616

 

So if all the above is correct, in 1955 £77 was equal to JPY77,616

 

Hope that helps

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

50cents.jpg

 

so if the compensation would have been something like 77616 Yen, the 50 Cents is a tiny part of the total, so my Dad may have cashed the rest and just held onto a sample or two. In 1951, my father was courting, and presumably needed every penny he could get, however derisory he saw the offer......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very interesing and sobering thread/post....

I recently read 'The Forgotten Highlander'...this poor fella had been captured at Singapore and not only somehow survived the Death Railway but also a lengthy spell loading ships in the docks before being shipped (and torpedoed on the journey) to the Japanese mainland to work in a factory.....

His story took a very rotten turn though when he eventually got home ...

he was refused his back pay on the grounds that the British Army/Government believed the Japanese had 'paid' the POWs for their work (not so of course)....and...on enquiring as to possible compensation for his treatment and obviously terrible health problems as a result of......was told by an Officer on the British Army Medical Board that he would need to provide proof of his various illness's and that without such proof no payment could or would be made....the poor man was so disgusted and disillisioned that he refused to every seek compensation again.....

Also....

..rather interesting to note is that he and his fellow POWs were sent on a ridiculously circuitous route home following liberation involving very prolonged stays in Hawaii and at various points on a train journey across the USA only finally arriving home almost 5 months later......He was not alone in believing this was done entirely on purpose so that the UK Public did not get to see the appalling state the men were in....although the boys were obviously a still looking rough , 5 months of splendid food and health care on the journey had worked enough wonders on them to hide the full story.....

Now.....

I may be unduly pessimistic and more than a little suspicious of 'government motives and behaviour' but I wonder if this had anything to do with our government already knowing that we would have to deal with Japan in the future and the UK public may not be at all ameniable to the idea if it was truly understood how horrifically the POWs had been treated????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect to payment by the Japanese government was probably part of the terms of reparation imposed on them by allied forces after the war, or maybe an attempt at something to start rehabilitating their perception in the world, although given the lack of any official apology it seems dubtful. Even by 1955 though I would think they could ill afford it which may explain the very small amount

 

£1000 is not to be sniffed at, but considering your Father's experiences, it could never be more than derisory. No amount of money could have made up for that

 

The only thing which causes me to wonder about the veracity of the calculators I used is; if 77000 Yen equaled £77, then how much could you buy for 50 yen and who would issue a note for an amount that small?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I suspect to payment by the Japanese government was probably part of the terms of reparation imposed on them by allied forces after the war, or maybe an attempt at something to start rehabilitating their perception in the world, although given the lack of any official apology it seems dubtful. Even by 1955 though I would think they could ill afford it which may explain the very small amount

 

£1000 is not to be sniffed at, but considering your Father's experiences, it could never be more than derisory. No amount of money could have made up for that

 

The only thing which causes me to wonder about the veracity of the calculators I used is; if 77000 Yen equaled £77, then how much could you buy for 50 yen and who would issue a note for an amount that small?

 

And the other note is one cent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_government-issued_dollar_in_Malaya,_North_Borneo,_Sarawak_and_Brunei

 

Well according to Wiki these notes were introduced from 19432 onwards and remained in use until 1945. They replaced the Malaysian dollar in Japanese occupied territory. Post 1945 The Japanese refused to honour these notes so they are therefore are not part of the £77.50 payment the Japanese gave my father in 1951.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a child, our family doctor had been captured by the Japanese and forced to labour on the Burma railway.He hated the Japanese and would NEVER purchase anything with the script 'Made in Japan' on it. When my father bought a Datsun 180B he gave the old man a real bollocking about how evil the Nips were. Goodness knows what pain our lads had to endure at their hands. This was a very intellegent, churchgoing man who could not find it in him to forgive the Japanese nation. I used to travel to Japan three times a year buying cars to import and almost universally I found them to be extremely polite and friendly. It is incredible when you read about the atrocities they committed in the last war which must be the worst of the conflict.

The thing that has always amazed me is how the war crimes trials in Japan were so low key compared to the Nazis and how so little of them were put on trial and subsequently punished. To my mind there should have been many more...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was a child, our family doctor had been captured by the Japanese and forced to labour on the Burma railway.He hated the Japanese and would NEVER purchase anything with the script 'Made in Japan' on it. When my father bought a Datsun 180B he gave the old man a real bollocking about how evil the Nips were. Goodness knows what pain our lads had to endure at their hands. This was a very intellegent, churchgoing man who could not find it in him to forgive the Japanese nation. I used to travel to Japan three times a year buying cars to import and almost universally I found them to be extremely polite and friendly. It is incredible when you read about the atrocities they committed in the last war which must be the worst of the conflict.

The thing that has always amazed me is how the war crimes trials in Japan were so low key compared to the Nazis and how so little of them were put on trial and subsequently punished. To my mind there should have been many more...

 

....my Dads elder brother was captured at Singapore and managed somehow to survive all the horrors...My dad recalls he came back a terribly changed man and didn't have a very good life for the rest of his short time passing away in his early 50s. He was very disillusioned with Great Britain because of the treatment given to Far East POWs and especially he believed the way that their ordeal had been deliverately 'brushed over' by the authorities.As your Doctor friend had been, he was absolutely appalled when people started driving lots of Japanese cars and motorcycles in the late 60s early 70s even to the extent of taking people very much to task in the street for doing so.....

The way we dealt with the issue of Japanese war crimes was in marked contrast to other commonwealth countries too....In one particular case we caught and tried the officer responsible for shooting a lot of Australian POWs just after Singapore had fallen...he was sentenced to a pathetic time in prison and was released having served only a few years of his sentence...HOWEVER!.

...he was put on a ship back to Japan (about 1950 I think it was) and when the ship docked in Hong Kong on route he was swiftly re-arrested by the Australian Authorities on board the ship as it lay in dock. Taken straight to Australia he was tried for the same crime and this time sentenced to the far more appropiate sentence of death...... which was very promptly carried out..

..I can only think that If I had somehow survived what those men went through not only would I carrry a great dislike/distrust of the Japanese but also of my own country for it's behaviour towards me in the years since..

....As I understand (??? am I right???)

Japan has still never officially apologised nor accepted that her soldiers/officers etc behaved in any improper way?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was a child, our family doctor had been captured by the Japanese and forced to labour on the Burma railway.He hated the Japanese and would NEVER purchase anything with the script 'Made in Japan' on it. When my father bought a Datsun 180B he gave the old man a real bollocking about how evil the Nips were. Goodness knows what pain our lads had to endure at their hands. This was a very intellegent, churchgoing man who could not find it in him to forgive the Japanese nation. I used to travel to Japan three times a year buying cars to import and almost universally I found them to be extremely polite and friendly. It is incredible when you read about the atrocities they committed in the last war which must be the worst of the conflict.

The thing that has always amazed me is how the war crimes trials in Japan were so low key compared to the Nazis and how so little of them were put on trial and subsequently punished. To my mind there should have been many more...

 

Berna

 

My mother still lives in Coventry and remembers vividly the blitz of Nov 1940 as well as other less well known raids. Whilst it was a relatively transitory distress compared to what Mikes father and your doctor suffered, there is no doubt it has left a deep impression on her. In particular no matter how much time has gone by or what has gone since, she still has a deep mistrust of all things german - I will never forget the argument she had with my Dad in the '70's when he bought a Volkswagen Variant estate car..! Funnily enough he was in bomb disposal and must have seen and experienced a lot of bad things but he didn't feel the same as she does at all. Just goes to show these things are often very individual.

 

I also have a vague recollection that the chap next door had been in the merchant navy on arctic convoys during the war. Looking back to the 70's there must have been a WW2 hero in every other house but you just dont appreciate it at the time..

 

Cheers

Timbo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....my Dads elder brother was captured at Singapore and managed somehow to survive all the horrors...My dad recalls he came back a terribly changed man and didn't have a very good life for the rest of his short time passing away in his early 50s. He was very disillusioned with Great Britain because of the treatment given to Far East POWs and especially he believed the way that their ordeal had been deliverately 'brushed over' by the authorities.As your Doctor friend had been, he was absolutely appalled when people started driving lots of Japanese cars and motorcycles in the late 60s early 70s even to the extent of taking people very much to task in the street for doing so.....

The way we dealt with the issue of Japanese war crimes was in marked contrast to other commonwealth countries too....In one particular case we caught and tried the officer responsible for shooting a lot of Australian POWs just after Singapore had fallen...he was sentenced to a pathetic time in prison and was released having served only a few years of his sentence...HOWEVER!.

...he was put on a ship back to Japan (about 1950 I think it was) and when the ship docked in Hong Kong on route he was swiftly re-arrested by the Australian Authorities on board the ship as it lay in dock. Taken straight to Australia he was tried for the same crime and this time sentenced to the far more appropiate sentence of death...... which was very promptly carried out..

..I can only think that If I had somehow survived what those men went through not only would I carrry a great dislike/distrust of the Japanese but also of my own country for it's behaviour towards me in the years since..

....As I understand (??? am I right???)

Japan has still never officially apologised nor accepted that her soldiers/officers etc behaved in any improper way?

 

My Dad told me that The Aussies had at least one of the worst Guards at Changi. He was bundled into a dunny where he drowned, and sunk without trace. There were reprisals for the missing guard but because no body was ever found, the matter died down fairly quickly. Maybe the practice should have been more widespread.......Fortunately my father was saved from the Burma railway, a project that cost an estimated one life for every sleeper laid......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Berna

 

My mother still lives in Coventry and remembers vividly the blitz of Nov 1940 as well as other less well known raids. Whilst it was a relatively transitory distress compared to what Mikes father and your doctor suffered, there is no doubt it has left a deep impression on her. In particular no matter how much time has gone by or what has gone since, she still has a deep mistrust of all things german - I will never forget the argument she had with my Dad in the '70's when he bought a Volkswagen Variant estate car..! Funnily enough he was in bomb disposal and must have seen and experienced a lot of bad things but he didn't feel the same as she does at all. Just goes to show these things are often very individual.

 

I also have a vague recollection that the chap next door had been in the merchant navy on arctic convoys during the war. Looking back to the 70's there must have been a WW2 hero in every other house but you just dont appreciate it at the time..

 

Cheers

Timbo

absolutely Tim.....the groundsman at my secondary school was an ex-commando that had been on the Bruniville raid and later at the Orne Bridges/Merville and countless other stuff during the war.....a lovely fella that wouldn't speak of anything he did...I found it all out off his son many years later.....a civvy instructor at the ATC squadron I'd been in as a lad was ex-bomber command and had flown in first Hampdens then Halifaxs ending up in Lancs...again he never spoke a word of what he did.....my Dads brother was just 'an old grumpy uncle' and I never really understood 'why' until he died when I was quite young and Dad explained what his brother had been thru....the list is endless..

.possibly the most shocking to me was an old fella that used to work for the local council cutting the road verges...my Dad had a horticultural business and repaired the council machines...one day this old fella came with a broken down mower and I noticed that he had hardly any fingers on either hand and what was left was mangled beyond belief....

I asked quietly what had happend and Dad turned to him and said

" ****....tell my boy what happened to your hands"

the old fella was very gracious about it and told me he was a tank driver in North Africa and his tank had been knocked out.....with his tank burning furiously he found his hatch wouldn't open..... he and the machine gunner were stuck.....in his words..

.."well the smoke and flames was staring to lick at us a bit and I guess I went into panic mode and just frantically battered at that hatch my boy till I got it open and me and my mate scrabbled outta there at some kinda speed....it wasn't till we were legging it away from the tank that he said ...look at yer hands!.... there wasn't a lot left of them and that was the end of the war for me"

 

absolute heroes every single one of them.....

forgot a bit about him!!!!!!!!

he was happy to chat about his war and when I asked what had knocked them out and was it maybe a Tiger he went on to say that when they first encountered the Tiger it didn't take very long to realise how good they were...the general rule very quickly became..'if he can see you, he can knock you out'....

. I can't recall what tank he was in but have an idea it was Lee Grants....he said

"in them days my boy you could have poked a sharpened stick thru our tanks so it could have been bloody anything "...

..he went on, and I quote him as honestly as I can now recall that days conversation nearly 40 years ago so I make no apology for how he said it.........

"there was no John Wayne bollocks about it I can tell you lad.....if a Tiger caught you in the open with nothing to scarper behind and no chance of getting away from him our commander used to shout "TIGER!!!! OUT! OUT!".......we knew the drill so you got out as fast as possible and just ran"

sobering stuff to a young lad as I was then that had been brought up on the standard Hollywood style war films of the day....

Edited by RattlesnakeBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...