World War II prisoners of war, held by the Japanese numbered over 27,000. After the war, Congress passed the War Claims Act of 1948, Commission to make lump sum compensations from a War Claims Fund consisting of Axis assets. They paid $1 to $2.50 a day per day of imprisonment. Civilian internees received $60 per month of imprisonment. They were also granted eligibility for compensation from death or disability
Because the POWS were already being paid when the Multilateral Peace Treaty of 1951 was signed in San Francisco the Allied countries were given first claim to payments. Since then, groups have tried to get compensation from Japan and have the U.S. court hear their claims.
In late 1999, internees tried a new method in California Courts by suing the companies who used them as slave labor. The suits were dismissed, but in early 2000s much publicity was given to the plight of the prisoners of war held by the Japanese. On June 28, 2000, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on POW survivors of the Bataan Death March and their claims against the Japanese companies who worked them during their imprisonment. The 106th Congress failed to compensate, but they did pass to find, declassify, and release any Japanese records that the U.S. might have relating to Japanese WWII war crimes. They agreed to help in communicating with Japanese companies.
In the 107th Congress more legislation was introduced, including to give a tax free gratuity of $20,000 to Armed Forces and civilian employees who were forced to do slave labor.
In the 107th through the 110th Congress the Samuel B. Moody Bataan Death March Compensation Act was introduced in the House of Representatives seeking to provide compensation for certain veterans who survived the Bataan Death March and were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese.
More to come on individual bills presented to Congress and the efforts to communicate to Japan officials.