Minister for Foreign Affairs


Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Friday, 23 March 2012

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT receives valuable prisoner of WAR RECORDS from Japan

Historical records of former Australian Prisoners of War (POW) held by the Japanese during the Second World War have been handed over to the Australian Government.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, welcomed the transfer and thanked the Japanese Government for the valuable records.

“We very much appreciate the cooperation of the Japanese Government in the transfer of these records to Australia. This exemplifies the strength of our relationship with Japan and the goodwill between us,” Mr Carr said.

“The Australian Embassy in Tokyo will arrange for the records to be safely dispatched into the care of the National Archives of Australia.”

Once repatriated to Australia, more than 16 volumes, including name-identified records, will be handed over to the National Archives of Australia and carefully prepared for public access.

With some of the records in a fragile condition, the Archives will undertake a rigorous process of careful examination and preparation so they can be digitised and made available to the public online.

It is expected that most of the records will become publicly available towards the end of this year.

Mr Snowdon said the records will provide families with previously unseen vital information on their loved ones and help to indentify where a prisoner was held, their date of capture and date of liberation for example.

“These records will help to increase our understanding of the experiences of some of the 20,000 Australian prisoners of war held by the Japanese throughout Asia during the Second World War,” he said.

“They are an invaluable insight into a tragic period in our nation’s wartime history, which will bring clarity for historians and, most importantly, some form of closure for the families of those listed who have, until this time, remained uncertain of their loved one’s fate,” Mr Snowdon said.

Media Note: An image is available from the DVA Media Centre

Media Contacts

Minister Carr’s Office: 02 6277 7500

Minister Snowdon’s Office: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 / 0417 917 796

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203