Australian Government accepts offer of Japanese War Records

The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment wel­comes Japan­ese For­eign Min­is­ter Maehara’s apol­o­gy to Aus­tralian Pris­on­ers of War (POWs) for the hor­rors they endured under Japan­ese con­trol in World War II.

For­eign Min­is­ter Mae­hara also announced Japan would return to Aus­tralia his­tor­i­cal records of for­mer Aus­tralian POWs held by Japan dur­ing World War II.

The Min­is­ter for For­eign Affairs, Kevin Rudd and Min­is­ter for Vet­er­ans’ Affairs and Defence Sci­ence and Per­son­nel, War­ren Snow­don, thanked the Japan­ese Gov­ern­ment.

“I wel­come their offer which is made in the spir­it of coop­er­a­tion. These index cards were orig­i­nal­ly offered to Aus­tralia by the Japan­ese Gov­ern­ment in 1953, but the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment of the time chose not to take up the offer, believ­ing that they would not con­tain any new infor­ma­tion,” Mr Rudd said.

Min­is­ter Snow­don said the Japan­ese records may shed light on the fate of the mem­bers of Lark Force, many of whom were lost when the Japan­ese trans­port Mon­te­v­ideo Maru was sunk by a US sub­ma­rine in 1942.

“The Gov­ern­ment recog­nis­es that there are fam­i­lies who remain uncer­tain about the fate of those cap­tured by the Japan­ese dur­ing World War II,” said Mr Snow­don. “In recent years, the Rabaul and Mon­te­v­ideo Maru Soci­ety have main­tained inter­est in the fate of Aus­tralian pris­on­ers of war and have pressed the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment to seek access to the card sys­tem.”

The records are expect­ed to be housed in the Aus­tralian War Memo­r­i­al.

Media Con­tact:
Min­is­ter Rudd: Kate Sieper 0466 745 615
Min­is­ter Snow­don: Alice Plate: 0400 045 999

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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