Repatriating the Japanese from New Caledonia, 1941-1946



Publication Details

Ward, R. G. (2016). Repatriating the Japanese from New Caledonia, 1941-1946. The Journal of Pacific History, 54 (4), 392-408.


This paper considers the negotiations for the repatriation of the Japanese residents of New Caledonia who were transferred to Australia for internment after the outbreak of the Asia-Pacific theatre of World War II. It shows that whilst the Japanese residents' place of origin was New Caledonia, it was deemed instead to be Japan, and they were repatriated to Japan either as part of the Anglo-Japanese civilian exchange of September 1942 or after the cessation of hostilities. The paper also shows that the Australian government had security concerns regarding the Japanese before and during the war but was willing to repatriate the Japanese to New Caledonia after the war should the New Caledonian authorities have been willing to accept them back. The New Caledonian authorities' decision not to accept the Japanese back in New Caledonia resulted in their repatriation to Japan even though some expressed the wish to return to New Caledonia.

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