Compensation from Japan for damages caused to life and property in Kiribati during World War Two
In response to a parliamentary question from Mr. Ioteba Redfern MP, a member of Parliament for the electorate of Betio, once the bloodiest World War Two battle ground for the Japanese and American soldiers in what was referred to in history as the Battle of Tarawa, seeking Government’s support to the people of Betio’s claim for compensation from Japan, President Maamau announced Government’s readiness to negotiate with Japan on the provision of specially targeted projects to communities affected by Japanese military occupation and atrocities.
Remains of Japanese guns used during the Battle of Tarawa in World War II against the American Marines.
But as Mr. Redfern and other members of Parliament on the government back bench urged the Government to negotiate compensation claims down to the individual level, the President agreed to take account of such feelings. Mr. Teburoro Tito MP, a former president (1994 to 2003) and the most senior back bencher representing the people of South Tarawa, commended the President’s stance on this old but issue and added weight to the call of Betio people as well as others by asking the government to revive the understanding reached between him
Red Beach; A bloody battlefield where most American soldiers died during their landing effort encounter against the Japanese. (Red Beach on Betio Tarawa, Kiribati.)
and the Japanese Emperor sometime back in 2001 when he raised with the Emperor and the then Prime Minister during his visit to Japan in his capacity as Pacific Forum Chairman the issue of war compensation and proposed the diplomatic approach of containing the compensation question within the framework of the Kiribati- Japan Friendship programme, in line with his inaugural address at the United Nations in 1999 on the occasion of Kiribati obtaining a UN membership in which the world was told for the first time of how far the people of Kiribati had suffered when Japan and the United States decided to turn the islands of Kiribati , in particular Tarawa, into a bloody battlefield. Mr. Tito applauded the new president for not continuing with the policy of his immediate predecessor, Mr. Anote Tong, who decided not to continue previous efforts in the pursuing of compensation claims for those I-Kiribati who suffered or died under Japanese military rule.