Imperial Japanese forces attacked Guam on Dec. 8, 1941, just one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Imperial Japanese forces attacked Guam on Dec. 8, 1941, just one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (Alex Wilson/Stars and Stripes)

Survivors of the Japanese World War II occupation of Guam and their descendants have received $4.13 million in compensation under a 2021 territorial law, according to the governor’s office.

Over the past year, claimants were given between $25,000 and $10,000 each as part of the Guam World War II Reconciliation Act of 2021. The compensation covered death, personal injury, forced labor, forced marching or internment during the occupation.

The act, sponsored by the Guam Legislature’s Committee on Rules, drew $10 million from the U.S. territory’s general fund to pay survivors and descendants who missed the deadline for war claims under federal law, according to the legislature’s website.

Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio, then acting governor, signed the measure into law Feb. 3, 2022. The application window opened on April 1, 2022, and closed on July 26, the governor’s office said in a news release Thursday.

The Guam War Claims Adjudication Committee approved 386 of the 429 claims submitted, according to its program closure report.

The program’s goal was to “provide a final measure of closure, peace, and healing for members of our island’s Greatest Generation,” who were unable to make a claim under the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act Program signed into law under President Barack Obama in 2016, said Krystal Paco-San Austin, the governor’s spokeswoman.

“Our administration is appreciative of the work of the War Claims Adjudication Committee in being able to adjudicate these claims quickly for the benefit of our Greatest Generation and their families,” she told Stars and Stripes by email Friday.

Under the Loyalty Recognition Act, claimants had between June 2017 and June 2018 to file a claim, according to the U.S. Department of Justice website. The program received nearly 4,000 claims and awarded more than $34.28 million.

Giving “just compensation” to Chamorro elders was of great importance to Guerrero’s administration, Paco-San Austin said.

She referred additional questions, including whether the 428 claims represented 428 individuals, to the Guam War Claims Adjudication Committee, which did not respond to multiple emails or calls on Thursday and Friday.

Imperial Japanese forces attacked Guam on Dec. 8, 1941, just one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; U.S. and local forces surrendered two days later.

Over the next three years, the local Chamorro people endured significant hardships, including forced labor, relocation and Japanese indoctrination until American forces liberated it in 1944, according to the National Park Service website.

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.

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