Mitsubishi Materials apologizes for U.S. POW forced labor

(Reuters) – Construction company Mitsubishi Materials Corp has apologized for using captured American soldiers as slave labour during World War Two.

Company representatives offered the apology on behalf of its predecessor, Mitsubishi Mining Co, at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Today we apologize for the tragic events in our past, a senior executive said. We express our profound determination to work toward a better future.

Ninety-four-year-old James Murphy is a surviving U.S. prisoner of war.

FORMER WORLD WAR TWO AMERICAN POW, JAMES MURPHY,

“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 for having to perform forced labor in the copper mines, coal mines and all the other areas.”

A special advisor to the Japanese prime minister also spoke.

SPECIAL ADVISOR TO JAPAN PRIME MINISTER AND OUTSIDE BOARD MEMBER OF MITSUBISHI MATERIALS CORPORATIONS, YUKIO OKAMOTO,

“We owe great apologies to these people and the apology is dual because we also have to apologize for not having apologized earlier before many ex-POWs had to pass away.”

The apology comes near the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two.