American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc.
 

Including all of the Defense Forces of the Philippine Archipelago,

The Asiatic Fleet, Wake Island, Marianna Islands,

Midway Island and Dutch East Indies

 

December 20, 2007

The Honorable John Thomas Schieffer
The United States Ambassador to Japan
Fax: 011-81-3-3505-1862

Dear Ambassador Schieffer:

It was disappointing to learn that your busy schedule while in
San Diego would not allow you to meet with me for a few minutes so that I, as the incoming Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, could share with you the concerns, frustrations and values we former POWs of the Japanese are burdened with.

At this late juncture of our lives our needs are few but our wants are many. We want and need respect from our former enemy. We want and need an apology from the Japanese leaders issued directly at we POWs who suffered from barbaric and uncalled for brutality at the hands of the Japanese soldiers. We had surrendered, we destroyed our weapons, we provided food to the Japanese soldiers, and we agreed to obey their commands. What more could we have done Mr. Ambassador, to show our respect to the victorious soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army? More importantly, what did we do to deserve the inhumane treatment meted out to we POWs during the long hot march to our first prison camp?

We want and need an apology from the leaders of those companies who allowed their employees to beat, with hammers, pick-axes, shovels and wooden beams, we slave workers who worked twelve hours a day every day for thirty months for profit-making industrial giants, who without our slave labor could never have generated the wealth they ultimately did. All of this while being deprived adequate amounts of food, minimal medical help, or pay for the work we did.

Mr. Ambassador, all we want is a meeting with the Prime Minister, a meeting which is the respectable and honorable way for Japan to satisfy our wants, show respect for our needs and make Japan the envy of the world for their humanistic approach to our request. We are prepared to fly to Japan on a moments notice to meet with the Prime Minister, any time, any place any day; at his pleasure.

Mr. Ambassador, we believe that as Americans we deserve the same kind of loyalty, concern and help you provided to the “Comfort Women” issue. Time is running out on we old soldiers, and we want and need an honorable closure to the tragic chapter of WW II that we have had to live with these past 66 years. We believe that our concerns would best be resolved without the fan-fare that the comfort women’s issue received.

Thank you Mr. Ambassador for taking the time from your busy schedule to reply to our concerns and requests. I look forward to hearing your comments when you visit
San Diego.

Sincerely,

Lester Tenney, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Commander, American Defenders of
Bataan and Corregidor
A survivor of the Bataan Death March