According to Harakah Daily, The Embassy of Japan has today confirmed that it had paid RM207 billion to the Malaysian government being compensation for families of victims of the so-called 'Death Railway' project in the 1940s.
for the original article
Jejak, the PAS-backed secretariat led by Bukit Gantang member of parliament Nizar Jamaluddin, visited the embassy today in a bid to unravel truth over some RM207 billion in unpaid compensation. Also present were PAS Youth vice chief Raja Iskandar Al-Hiss and Jejak operation chief Safarizal Saleh.
The secretariat was formed to track down next-of-kins of those forced to work in the 'Death Railway'.
Jejak quoted the embassy's second secretary Takaharu Suegami as saying that the money was transferred in the 1990s, but added that his office would have to consult Tokyo to get further details. Suegami however said Japan had no details about how the money was distributed by the Malaysian government.
Nizar had claimed that he had received documents proving that the RM207 billion from Tokyo was received as far back as 2004. The money was meant to be distributed to some 30,000 Malaysians who had been recruited as forced laborers. The RM207 billion in compensation means each affected family is entitled to receive between RM2.8 and RM3 million.
Nizar meanwhile urged the Japanese government to provide names of Malaysians who worked in the 'Death Railway' project.
The Spanker’s Take?
This shocking claim is too simplistic. There are too many questions left unanswered. I would like Nazir to release the official documents he is basing his claims on to determine what this payment was for, who brokered these demands, and who represented the laborers. It is bizarre that it was paid in the 1990s as issues about payments relating to the occupation were settled way before then, and sums of payment made to both Singapore and Malaysia, and according to academic texts, these were used for the purchase of 2 ships from Japan for MISC.
If Japan has never had to apologize nor acknowledge reparations/compensation, why would they have paid 'compensation' for Death Railway workers? Did the Thai, Burmese and forced laborers of other nationalities get paid too?
This smells like another election-related spin.
According to this video of Nazir outside Japanese Embassy getting this money back from govt will solve poverty issues. How? Whose poverty issues? The survivors/ their descendants?
to view the video
Are all survivors/descendants of Death Railway experience in poverty? Also, Nizar is asking for a list of laborers. If he doesn't have this, how does he know how many laborers and what was the racial make-up? If Japan has not paid directly to any victims of the occupation who died from torture or killings, why would they pay to forced laborers?
Japan never paid directly to the victims, only state-level govt to govt. So why would there have been this deal which suggests admission of guilt on the part of Japanese govt?
This is too murky for The Spanker. Lots of cans of worms might be opened here: If indeed the govt did negotiate compensation for the Death Railway forced laborers, why did they not do so for those killed during the war? And when Tun Dr M told Murayama to stop apologizing for the war (Straits Times, 28 August I994) was this before or after any alleged payments?
yup, you know what to do by now
The Xinhua report above uses the word 'blood debt'. This term was only used by the Chinese Chambers of Commerce in Singapore and Malaya to demand reparations, and does not relate at all to the plight of the Death Railway forced laborers.