Former POWs: Visiting Japan Metals and Chemicals, the site of the POW camp in Takaoka, “Dialogue for a new journey”

Mainichi Shimbun, October 19, 2011

Two American former POWs visited the camp site at Japan Metals and Chemicals in Takaoka on October 18. They said that they were glad to come back.

Mr. Harold Bergbower (91) from Arizona and Mr. Jim Collier (88) from California were invited by Japanese government’s invitation program for former American POWs.  The two spent a year in the Tokyo POW camp group #21 from 1944 to the end of the war.  The camp was said to have been located within Hokkai Denka Fushiki Factory (at that time) which was said to be located inside the factory. However, there are no remains of the camp today and there are no records or information on the camp at that time.

After meeting with company officials and talking about those days, the two spoke with reporters. Mr. Bergbower said, "Japan has turned to a new generation, and I wanted to have a dialogue."  Mr. Collier said, "I had mixed feelings, but I decided to come because I thought this would be a new journey to rebuild my life."

Mr. Bergbower said, "It is not easy to get rid of old hatred, but that changed after the face to face meeting with the company officials, and I think we could become friends."  Mr. Collier commented, "No matter how ugly our past might have been, I am glad to have had this opportunity for a dialogue."


元米兵捕虜:高岡の収容所跡、日本重化学工業を訪問 「対話で新しい旅路」 /富山バーグバウワーさん、コリエさん

毎日新聞 10月19日