The handshake that ends 70 years of suffering. #UPDATE WWII POW James Murphy shakes hands with Mitsubishi Materials executives after apology
The handshake that ends 70 years of suffering.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) 20 Juillet 2015
Mitsubishi has become the first Japanese corporation to offer an apology for the use of American prisoners of war for forced labour during the Second World War.
Mitsubishi official Hikaru Kamura spoke on behalf of one of the company’s forefunners, the Mitsubishi Mining Corporation: “Today we apologise remorsefully for the tragic events in our past and express our profound determination to work towards a better future.”
For former US POW James Murphy, this time words speak louder than actions:
“We have just witnessed something of a historical nature, because for 70 years since the war ended, the prisoners of war who worked for these Japanese companies have asked for something very simple. They asked for an apology.”
12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and forced to work at more than 50 sites to support the country’s war effort.
An estimated 10 percent did not return.
The descendants of hundreds of Chinese men forced to work in wartime Japan are seeking millions of dollars in compensation from a subsidiary of Mitsubishi.