Japan firm to apologise to US POWs over wartime forced labour

Japan`s Mitsubishi Materials said Wednesday that it would offer a landmark apology to US prisoners of war forced to work for the industrial giant during World War II, seven decades after the conflict ended.

Japan firm to apologise to US POWs over wartime forced labour

Tokyo: Japan`s Mitsubishi Materials said Wednesday that it would offer a landmark apology to US prisoners of war forced to work for the industrial giant during World War II, seven decades after the conflict ended.

A senior company executive will apologise to 94-year-old survivor James Murphy and the relatives of other POWs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles on Sunday. The centre is dedicated to the rights of Holocaust survivors.

"Mr Murphy will represent all the American prisoners of war who were put to labour in the then company`s mines in Japan," a company spokesman said.

The sprawling conglomerate, which now makes everything from cement to electronics, forced about 900 American POWs to work, among the thousands of other US prisoners pushed into slave labour at Japanese firms during the war.

Koreans and Chinese were also victims of such forced labour and reparations have been demanded from other Japanese firms in a string of court cases.

It was not clear what prompted the apology so long after the war, but the Japanese government only officially apologised to former American POWs five years ago.

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