Better late than never.
Five years ago, the Japanese government officially apologized to American former POWs for being used as forced labor during World War II. And now Mitsubishi has done the same. According to the BBC, a senior company executive made the official apology on behalf of the automaker at a recent ceremony in Los Angeles. To its credit, Mitsubishi is so far the only Japanese automaker to apologize for atrocities committed some 70 years ago. Back then, it was known as Mitsubishi Mining Co, a predecessor company to today’s Mitsubishi.
It operated four mines and imprisoned 500 American POWs, among other allied Philippine, Korean, and Chinese prisoners. All were used as forced labor with little to "no food, no medicine, no clothing, no sanitation," according to 94-year-old James Murphy, one of the few surviving US POWs. He was present at the ceremony to accept the apology. Murphy spent a year as a human slave working a copper mine in Hanawa, Japan. Although Mitsubishi offered no cash compensation to the few living survivors, Murphy described the apology as "a big deal." Will other Japanese automakers, who often have dark histories as well, come forward with apologies of their own? Now’s the time because there are so very few POW survivors left.