Tags: mitsubishi | apology | american | soldiers | wwii

Mitsubishi Apology: Japanese Company Sorry for Enslaving US Soldiers

Image: Mitsubishi Apology: Japanese Company Sorry for Enslaving US Soldiers
James Murphy, a 94-year-old veteran and POW who survived working at Mitsubishi's Osarizawa Copper Mine and the infamous Bataan Death March in the Philippines, reacts after a Mitsubishi press conference apology in Los Angeles July 19, 2015. (Reuters Staff/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 20 Jul 2015 09:09 AM

Mitsubishi Materials executives issued a formal apology over the weekend for forcing American soldiers into slavery in their mines during World War II.

The Japanese company, formerly Mitsubishi Mining, made the apology during a ceremony Sunday at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, according to Time magazine.

"Working conditions were extremely harsh and the POWs were subjected to severe hardship," senior executive Hikaru Kimura said at the ceremony. "As the company that succeeded Mitsubishi Mining, we cannot help feeling a deep sense of ethical responsibility for this past tragedy."

The BBC News reported that relatives of former prisoners were present at the ceremony, held at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The news agency wrote that Mitsubishi Materials is acting independently of the Japanese government, which previously apologized to American prisoners.

The Japanese government issued a formal apology to American prisoners of war in 2009 and again in 2010, according to The Associated Press.

James Murphy, 94, who actually worked as one of the 500 American soldiers in the mines, also attended the ceremony, according to the BBC News.

"I listened very carefully to Mr. Kimura's statement of apology and found it very, very sincere, humble and revealing," Murphy said of the ceremony. "We hope that we can go ahead now and have a better understanding, a better friendship and closer ties with our ally, Japan."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the BBC News that he hopes Mitshubishi's apology is just the beginning of other companies coming forward.

"We hope this will spur other companies to join in and do the same." Cooper said to the BBC News.

The AP wrote that Stanley Gibson, whose late father worked along with Murphy in the Japanese mines, traveled to Los Angeles from Scotland to represent his family after learning about the ceremony days before.

"Considering what my father went through it was the least I could do," Gibson told the AP.

CNN reported 27 Americans died in the mining camps and others claimed they suffered lifelong health conditions. The labor camps were liberated in 1945.

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Mitsubishi Materials executives issued a formal apology over the weekend for forcing American soldiers into slavery in their mines during World War II.
mitsubishi, apology, american, soldiers, wwii
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2015-09-20
Monday, 20 Jul 2015 09:09 AM
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