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of Japan's WWII POW Death Camps commend
Japanese Prime Minister for admitting use of
POW Slave Labor
Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, January 6th,
the Japanese Prime Minister acknowledged to
members of Japan's
Parliament that his family-owned coal mine
used Allied Prisoner of War slave labor
during World War II.
Lester Tenney, Commander of the
American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
"The Prime Minister of Japan
Taro Aso is to be commended for his courage for setting the
record straight about his company's use of
POW forced labor."
Mr. Aso's statement is the first admission
by any senior Japanese government or
industry official that private Japanese
companies used forced labor to maintain
production during the Pacific War.
Three hundred British, Australian, and Dutch
POWs labored in the Aso family coal mine.
More than 27,000 Americans -- possibly as
many as 36,000 -- were captured by
Japan, most early in World War
Held in brutal captivity, these POWs
provided slave labor for at least 50 private
Japanese companies including Mitsui,
Tenney now hopes "corporate heads come
forward with their own company's records of
POW forced labor."
He called upon Prime Minister Aso to "go the
next step and issue an apology to the POWs,
which can set the example for
companies to emulate."
He sees Aso's admission as "long overdue."
But Tenney recognizes it as "an important
first step for Japan to
take toward issuing apologies and offering
outreach programs to the American POWs."
Tenney notes that Japan
has offered both to other Allied POWs.
He finds it "incomprehensible and offensive
that only American POWs have been excluded."
It also was revealed that boxes of files on
Allied POWs are in the basement of the
Health, Labor, & Welfare Ministry.
Tenney demanded, "the immediate release of
these documents so that families can learn
more about their loved ones who toiled in
horrific conditions for Japan."
POW forced labor for Japan's
war industries was a violation of the Geneva
Convention. Dr. Tenney is a survivor of
three years in a Mitsui coal mine.
The American Defenders of Bataan and
Corregidor (ADBC) is a veteran's
organization representing the survivors and
families of those who were POWs of the