Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Far East Prisoners of War on 14th July 1986.
Mr. Woodall Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are taken to publicise the facilities available to surviving prisoners of war of the Japanese regarding degenerative and psychological illnesses and parasite infestation arising from the circumstances of their captivity; what investigations have been commissioned by his Department into the incidence of such conditions amongst these people; and if he will make a statement on the levels revealed.
Mr. Major The Department provides facilities for former far east prisoners of war to be medically investigated so that any residual illness resulting from their imprisonment can be identified and treated. These arrangements have been brought to the attention of hospital medical and administrative staff and general practitioners. Information will also be included in a new leaflet on war pensions to be published shortly. Any individual former FEPOW who is known to the Department through the war pensions scheme is encouraged to undergo an investigation. The National Federation of Far East Prisoners of War Clubs and Associations also publicises the facilities to its members and on occasions through the media. We are considering other means of making the arrangements more widely known.
The Department has commissioned one study of the health of former FEPOWs. The report, entitled “A study of the Post-Captivity Health of Ex-Prisoners of War of the Japanese”, was produced in February 1985 and a copy is being placed in the Library. In the absence of a similar study of morbidity in the British male population valid comparisons are not possible. With that proviso, the report concludes that the level of degenerative conditions among ex-FEPOWs did not appear to be significantly different from that in the general population. There appeared to be a higher incidence of psychiatric manifestations. Only one type of parasitic infestation, strongyloidiasis, was identified. This is a worm infestation which can be effectively treated.