Wed, Feb 07, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Holders of colonial-era goldmarks decry lack of assistance

REPAYMENT Forced to buy the goldmarks during Japanese rule, the owners blasted the government for failing to help them claim compensation

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of people who said they were forced to buy goldmarks from the Japanese colonial government lashed out at the government yesterday for failing to help them demand payment from the Japanese government.

"Komatsu Michihiko, an official from the Interchange Association, Japan [Japan's mission in Taiwan], told me on Sept. 6, 2001, that it was the Taiwanese government that did not want to talk to Japan about the issue," said Hsieh Hua-mou (謝華謀), organizer of an association composed of about 15,000 creditors around the nation, told a public hearing which was held in the legislature.

Debt

Hsieh said that the money the Japanese government owed them would reach US$100 billion, based on present value.

Huang Shue-i (黃水益), a section chief at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' (MOFA) Committee on Japanese Affairs, however, rebutted the charge.

"The government has been working hard to help with the matter. The problem is Japan has been disregarding its obligation of repaying Taiwan," Huang said.

After World War I, Germany was required to compensate the victors with goldmarks, former legislator Ju Gau-jeng (朱高正) said.

The Japanese government used goldmarks obtained from Germany to issue 50-year government bonds and forced Tai-wanese, then under Japanese rule, to buy the goldmarks which had a total value of US$40 million at that time, he said.

Subsidy

"Looking at past developments, we can see that the [former] Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] government had actively provided assistance to the victims, but the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government had not," KMT Legislator Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) said.

Hung said that MOFA, under the KMT government, once provided a subsidy of NT$250,000 (US$7,500) to help association members travel to Japan to negotiate on the issue.

Hung said that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and former premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) once wrote a letter, signed by 13 DPP legislators, asking Tokyo to repay Taiwanese.

"Chen needs to explain why he changed his position during his second term in office," she said.

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