FORMER prisoners of war held by the Japanese during World War II may receive compensation by the end of the year if legal action started last month is successful.
UK solicitor Martyn Day, who is working on the case with a team of Japanese lawyers, says pay-outs may be secured for almost 25,000 Allied PoWs through an out-of-court settlement.
Day, joint senior partner of London practice Leigh, Day & Co, returned from Japan last week after commencing proceedings in the Tokyo District Court on behalf of former PoWs from the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.
The action against the Japanese Government aims to secure a u0.5 billion pay-out for former prisoners of the Pacific War, and oral hearings are expected to commence in August.
Day says the visit, which was designed to focus the attention of the Japanese media and community on the issue, went "very well".
The legal team held meetings with the Japanese Government, and Day says it is possible compensation may be awarded through an out-of-court settlement later this year.
"I'm not saying that they'll get every penny, but I think there's a fighting chance that they'll get it resolved this year and that the amount wanted by the PoWs will be accepted."