Mitsubishi offers historic apology for using US WWII POW labour

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.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.