Text: H.R.1198 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/22/2001)


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[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1198 Introduced in House (IH)]







107th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1198

To preserve certain actions in Federal court brought by members of the 
  United States Armed Forces held as prisoners of war by Japan during 
   World War II against Japanese nationals seeking compensation for 
mistreatment or failure to pay wages in connection with labor performed 
   in Japan to the benefit of the Japanese nationals, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 22, 2001

Mr. Rohrabacher (for himself, Mr. Honda, Mr. DeLay, Mr. Cunningham, Mr. 
  Whitfield, Mr. Jefferson, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Rogers of Michigan, Mr. 
Saxton, Mr. Shows, Mr. Riley, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Bartlett of Maryland, 
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Schaffer, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. 
Pence, Mrs. Capito, Mr. Rehberg, Mr. Bonior, Mr. Evans, Mr. Borski, Mr. 
 Frost, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Foley, Mr. Cannon, Mr. DeMint, Mr. McCrery, 
  and Mr. Walden of Oregon) introduced the following bill; which was 
  referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the 
  Committees on International Relations, and Government Reform, for a 
 period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for 
consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the 
                          committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To preserve certain actions in Federal court brought by members of the 
  United States Armed Forces held as prisoners of war by Japan during 
   World War II against Japanese nationals seeking compensation for 
mistreatment or failure to pay wages in connection with labor performed 
   in Japan to the benefit of the Japanese nationals, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Justice for United States Prisoners 
of War Act of 2001''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) During World War II, members of the United States Armed 
        Forces war by Japan were forced to provide labor for Japanese 
        privately owned corporations in functions unrelated to the 
        prosecution of the war.
            (2) These Japanese corporations violated international law, 
        including the standards required under international 
        conventions relating to protection of prisoners of war, by 
        failing to pay wages for that labor, by allowing and promoting 
        torture and mistreatment of the United States prisoners of war 
        at the hand of their private employees, and by withholding food 
        and medical treatment.
            (3) In the Treaty of Peace with Japan, signed at San 
        Francisco in 1951, Japan admitted liability for its illegal and 
        inhumane conduct toward the Allied Powers and, in particular, 
        liability for such conduct toward members of the armed forces 
        of the Allied Powers held as prisoners of war.
            (4) Despite this admission of liability, article 14(b) of 
        the Treaty has been construed to waive all claims of nationals 
        of the United States, including claims of members of the United 
        States Armed Forces held as prisoners of war by Japan during 
        World War II.
            (5) Under article 26 of the Treaty, the Government of Japan 
        agreed that, if it entered into a war claims settlement 
        agreement with any other country that provided terms more 
        beneficial than those terms extended to the parties to the 
        Treaty, then those more favorable terms would be extended to 
        each of the parties to the Treaty, including the United States.
            (6) Since the entry into force of the Treaty in 1952, the 
        Government of Japan has entered into war claims settlement 
        agreements with other countries that provide terms more 
        beneficial than those terms extended to the parties to the 
        Treaty with respect to claims by nationals of those countries 
        against Japanese nationals, allowing such claims to be pursued 
        without limitation, restriction, or waiver or any type.
            (7) In accordance with article 26 of the Treaty, Japan is 
        obligated to extend the same more beneficial terms under the 
        subsequent war claims settlement agreements with other 
        countries described in paragraph (6) to the United States, 
        including to nationals of the United States who as members of 
        the United States Armed Forces were held as prisoners of war by 
        Japan during World War II and were forced to provide labor 
        without compensation and under inhumane conditions.
            (8) The people of the United States owe a deep and eternal 
        debt to members of the United States Armed Forces held as 
        prisoners of war by Japan during World War II for their heroism 
        and sacrifice on the nation's behalf in the first days after 
        Japan's ignominious aggression against the United States at 
        Pearl Harbor, Bataan, and Corregidor.
            (9) The pursuit of justice by members of the United States 
        Armed Forces held as prisoners of war by Japan during World War 
        II who were forced to provide labor without compensation and 
        under inhumane conditions through lawsuits filed in the courts 
        of the United States, where otherwise supported by applicable 
        standards established by Federal, State, or international law, 
        is consistent with the interests of the United States and 
        should not be deemed preempted by any other provision of law or 
        the Treaty.
            (10) Japanese records relating to chemical and biological 
        experiments conducted on members of the United States Armed 
        Forces held as prisoners of war by Japan during World War II 
        that were turned over to the United States Government after the 
        war have been withheld from such United States prisoners of war 
        and their physicians, despite repeated requests for disclosure 
        of such records by the prisoners of war themselves, the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Congress.

SEC. 3. SUITS AGAINST JAPANESE NATIONALS.

    (a) In General.--In any action in a Federal court brought by one or 
more members of the United States Armed Forces held as a prisoner of 
war by Japan during World War II against one or more Japanese nationals 
(including entities organized or incorporated under Japanese law or any 
affiliates of such entities organized or incorporated under the laws of 
any State) seeking compensation for mistreatment or failure to pay 
wages in connection with labor performed in Japan by such United States 
prisoners of war to the benefit of such Japanese nationals (or their 
predecessors) during World War II, the court--
            (1) shall apply the applicable statute of limitations of 
        the State in which the action is pending; and
            (2) shall not construe section 14(b) of the Treaty of Peace 
        with Japan as constituting a waiver by the United States of 
        claims by nationals of the United States, including claims by 
        members of the United States Armed Forces, so as to preclude 
        the pending action.
    (b) Rule of Construction.--Subsection (a) provides for the 
facilitation of actions against Japanese nationals described in such 
subsection and shall not be construed as providing for the facilitation 
of actions against the present Government of Japan or the people of 
Japan.
    (c) Sunset.--Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) shall cease to apply 
at the end of the 10-year period beginning on the date of the enactment 
of this Act.

SEC. 4. APPLICABILITY OF RIGHTS UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE TREATY OF PEACE 
              WITH JAPAN.

    It is the policy of the United States Government to ensure that all 
terms under any war claims settlement agreement between Japan and any 
other country that are more beneficial than those terms extended to the 
United States under the Treaty of Peace with Japan are extended to the 
United States in accordance with article 26 of the Treaty with respect 
to claims by nationals of the United States who as members of the 
United States Armed Forces were held as prisoners of war by Japan 
during World War II and were forced to provide labor without 
compensation and under inhumane conditions.

SEC. 5. AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION RELATING TO CERTAIN CHEMICAL AND 
              BIOLOGICAL TESTS CONDUCTED BY JAPAN DURING WORLD WAR II.

    (a) Availability of Information to the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs may secure directly from any department or agency of 
the United States information relating to chemical or biological tests 
conducted by Japan on members of the United States Armed Forces held as 
prisoners of war by Japan during World War II, including any such 
information provided to the United States Government by Japan. Upon 
request of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the head of that 
department or agency shall furnish that information to the Secretary.
    (b) Availability of Information to Interested Members of the Armed 
Forces.--Any information received by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
under subsection (a) with respect to an individual member of the United 
States Armed Forces held as a prisoner of war by Japan during World War 
II may be made available to such individual to the extent otherwise 
provided by law.

SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Treaty of peace with japan; treaty.--The terms ``Treaty 
        of Peace with Japan'' and ``Treaty'' mean the Treaty of Peace 
        with Japan, signed at San Francisco on September 8, 1951 (3 UST 
        3169).
            (2) State.--The term ``State'' means the several States, 
        the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory or 
        possession of the United States.
            (3) Applicable statute of limitations.--The ``applicable 
        statute of limitations'' of a State means, with respect to a 
        court action, the law of that State which establishes the time 
        within which such an action may be brought.
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