In an unprecedented apology, Mitsubishi has apologized to U.S. veterans, one in particular, who were placed in forced labor to work for the company in their copper mills during WWII, often in deplorable conditions. The story is one that has inspired the Franciscans of the Holy Land, who often try to instill values of patience, fortitude and forgiveness through their acts of service and their ministry to Holy Land Christians.
Though Christian Arabs do not face the same deplorable conditions as WWII veterans in Japan copper mines, they continue to face daily discrimination in the workplace and throughout society. Their willingness to endure these difficult conditions is a testament to their faith and the importance the Franciscans Foundation for the Holy Land places on safeguarding the Christian presence in the Holy Land, the land where Christianity began. They hope that, in time, justice and peace will provide Arab Christians equal opportunity to education, work and societal benefits. At the time, they pray for reconciliation and forgiveness to overflow as it did for James Murphy and the American prisoners of war who were forced to work for Mitsubishi during WWII.
(Fox) A major Japanese corporation gave an unprecedented apology Sunday to a 94-year-old U.S. prisoner of war for using American POWs for forced labor during World War II, nearly 70 years after the war ended.
At the solemn ceremony hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, James Murphy, of Santa Maria, accepted the apology from executives of Mitsubishi Materials in front of a projected image of the U.S. and Japanese flags.
Murphy, who was forced to work in Mitsubishi copper mines under harsh conditions, called the apology sincere and remorseful.
“This is a glorious day,” Murphy said. “For 70 years we wanted this.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the center whose primary focus in the past has been Holocaust education, said he believes the move is unprecedented.
“As far as I know, this is a piece of history,” Cooper told The Associated Press recently. “It’s the first time a major Japanese company has ever made such a gesture. We hope this will spur other companies to join in and do the same.”
Japan’s government issued a formal apology to American POWs in 2009 and again in 2010. But the dwindling ranks of POWs used as slaves at mines and industrial plants have so far had little luck in getting apologies from the corporations who used them, sometimes under brutal conditions.
Some 12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and forced to work at more than 50 sites to support imperial Japan’s war effort, and about 10 percent died, according to Kinue Tokudome, director of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs, who has spearheaded the lobbying effort for companies to apologize.