Mitsubishi Materials has become the first sizeable Japanese brand to issue a formal apology for using US prisoners of war during WWII.
As a result of lobbyists pushing major Japanese firms for the concession in a campaign spanning decades, Mitsubishi Materials offered a “most remorseful apology” at a California event on Sunday directly to a 94-year-old survivor James Murphy.
The Financial Times reports that Murphy who was among several hundred POWs who received “harsh, severe hardships” in the company’s copper mines, welcomed the apology dubbing it “sincere and humble”.
Issued just before the 70th anniversary of WWII, Yukio Okamoto, an external director of Mitsubishi Materials, added: “We also have to apologise for not apologising earlier”.
The firm had under its command an estimated total of 900 US POWs working in mines and industrial plants during the war in addition to labourers from other nations including the UK and China.