On 1941-12-25, (the Black Christmas) the Japanese troops invaded and occupied Hong Kong for 3 years and 8 months, in which Hong Kong citizens lived in fear and tragedy. The Japanese army had committed a lots of crimes including robberies, brutal killings, rapes, arsons, force slavery and etc. During the occupation, the Japanese troops had tortured the Hong Kong people to death. The population of Hong Kong reduced from 1.6 million in 1941 to less than 0.6 million in 1945. Another unfair crime committed by the Japanese troops was the issue of Japanese Military Yens. They forced the Hong Kong citizens to exchange all their assets including Hong Kong and foreign currencies, gold, and all resources, to the issued Military Yens, which was ordered to be the only legal tender. For those who circulated other currencies, they would be punished or even be-headed. There are still members of our association who can testify. In 1941, the exchange rate was HK$ 2 to $1 Military Yen, On 1942-07-04, the rate was HK$ 4 to $ 1 Military Yen. In autumn 1945, the troops evacuated from Hong Kong, without giving any opportunity for us to exchange the money.
Japanese Government forced us to exchange the Military Yens. They then shipped out all the valuables and other currencies to purchase assets to be shipped back to Japan.
Since 1946, the Hong Kong citizens have been chasing the Japanese Government in exchanging back the Military yens, but with no feedback.
We have the following rationales and evidence:
- Japanese Government keeps using the San Francisco treaty as excuse. (A) The treaty signed in 1951 between Britain and Japan did not mention anything about the Japanese currency and Military Yens. The issue we are dealing with now is the exchange of the Military yens, and has nothing to do with ‘compensation’. (B) The Hong Kong citizens are all Chinese nationals, and Hong Kong has returned to China in 1997. The treaty is only between Japan and Britain.
- The Japanese Government claimed to have giant reserves to support the Military Yens. Where was the reserve?
- On each note there was a statement saying that it was a legal tender. But why these notes became useless ?
- On the legal perspective, the Japanese Government issued Military Yens in Hong Kong as legal tender, whilst they retreated and the Military Yens became useless, they should collect and exchange.
- The Japanese Government still exists, she should be responsible for their issued currencies.
- The Japanese Treasury admitted that they had issued a total of 1.9 billion of Military Yens, among which some 0.54 billion are still in the hands of 3500 Hong Kong family. We are asking for the exchanging the Military Yens together with the inflation for the years.
- On 1993-08-13, We initiated a trial in the Japanese District Court against the Japanese Government for “Unable to fulfill the duty of issuing currency”. Until 1999-06-17, the trial completed, and the court gave a verdict that the Japanese Government had committed such unlawful acts in issuing currency by force and wiping-off our assets. Though the court had sympathy on us, there was no compensation law in Japan. Hence, we still lost the trial. We have to wait for the legislation of such law in Japan.
- We strongly disagreed with the verdict of the Japanese District Court. The issue is ‘exchange’, not compensation. Not repaying a debt or exchange is a crime.
- We had appealed to the High Court. After three trials, on 2001-02-08, our appeal was dismissed. We further lodged the appeal which was delayed due to the requirement of payment of stamp duty. Even after clearing all the stamp duty, there is still no reply or feedback from the court.
- Between 1995-10-02 and end of March 2000, Japanese Government set a liaison association in Taiwan and started to repay to Taiwanese all the debt including rate, Military debt, insurance and the issued Military Yens.
- Legally speaking, issuing dishonored cheque was a criminal offence. So the same ground applied here, issuing currency but dishonored. It is a serious crime. The Japanese Government applied double standard to discriminate us. The issue of Military yens is a matter of ‘debt’, a fraud in issuing currency. It’s not a question of ‘compensation’. The Japanese Government should not use ‘compensation’ to deceive the world.
It is unfair and unjust. The Japanese troops occupied Hong Kong, and issued Japanese Military Yens. They forced the Hong Kong citizens to exchange all their assets including Hong Kong and foreign currencies, gold, and all resources, to the issued Military Yens, which was ordered to be the only legal tender. For those who circulated other currencies, they would be punished or even be-headed. The Japanese National Bank had admitted having issued 1.9 billions Military Yens in Hong Kong. We have 3500 families who are still holding some 0.54 billion Military yens in hands. We requested for a reasonable exchange.
The Japanese Government had repaid all the debts to Taiwan between 1995-10-02 and end of March 2000. They had publicly announced for the claims of the debts in Taiwan. It was unfair to us even we had won the trial as there was no compensation law in Japan. I request Japanese Government to show their sincere in exchange for the Military Yens.
NG Yat Hing , Chairman
LAU Man, Deputy Chairman
HK Reparations Association
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