in 2004, 2005 and 2006
Mitsubishi Materials apologized for POW forced labor
At Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles,
Mitsubishi Materials became the first Japanese company to officially and
publicly apologize for the WWII POW forced labor by its predecessor company,
Mr. Hikaru Kimura, Senior Executive Officer, delivered company’s apology and
Mr. James Murphy, who was forced to
work at Mitsubishi's Osarizawa copper mine, accepted it.
Mr. Yukio Okamoto, Outside Board Member of Mitsubishi Materials, also
attended. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, moderated the press conference.
Prof. Jan Thompson,
President of American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society,
and Mr. James Nelson, whose late father was forced to work at Osarizawa
copper mine, also attended.
made during the event:
Materials' apology and Mr.
Murphy’s acceptance statement
statement and Mr. Nelson’s
Dr. and Mrs. Tenney invited to Prime Minister Abe's dinner
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's state visit to the United States, Dr. and Mrs.
Lester Tenney were invited to his dinner in Washington DC.
Prime Minister Abe, with Mrs. Abe, came to Dr. Tenney's table and shook his
Kinue Tokudome's article on that meeting in Mainichi Shimbun.
Road from Bataan to
Dr. Lester Tenney's new book
Kinue Tokudome reviews The
Courage to Remember: PTSD - From Trauma to Triumph, written by Past
National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Dr.
Please go to
The Courage to Remember
daughter's visit to Japan
Mrs. Kathy Holcomb's article on her recent visit to Japan and the
company where her late father, Mr. Harold Vick, had been forced to work, was
published in Japan Times.
Please go to
father’s POW years are put to rest
Remembering Mr. Donald Versaw
dedicated to the late Mr. Donald Versaw posted.
Please go to
"Farewell to a Marine."
Thoughts of POW Daughters
Nancy Kragh and Ms. Caroline Burkhart share their thoughts as the daughter
of a POW.
Please go to Daughters' essays
Letter to President Obama
On April 12, Japan's 3rd largest
newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported on the letter sent from American former
POWs, who had been forced to work for Japanese companies during WWII, to
President Obama who will soon visit Japan. They wrote:
Many of our fellow POWs died and almost all of us still carry physical and
mental scars to this day. We survivors want our honor returned and one way
to do that is through an apology from these companies.
Edward Jackfert was quoted in the article:
An apology is a crucial underpinning in every process designed to bring
closure to human rights abuse.
its English translation.
is the 72nd anniversary of the Bataan Death March.
Survivor’s testimony from PBS
Dr. Lester Tenney, a Bataan Death
March survivor and the last National Commander of the American Defenders of
Bataan and Corregidor, explained to Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada
in 2010 about the last remaining issue for American POWs of the Japanese.
POW's want Japan apology
Edward Jackfert's article published
Former POW and two- time National
Commander of of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Mr. Edward
Jackfert, wrote an article for the National Interest regarding the
recent development in the state of Virginia. He wrote:
The Japanese government’s repeated intervention in efforts to set history
straight is a painful reminder of the indignities I endured at the hands of
my Japanese captors.
I think the Virginia governor should stand up to Japanese threats and ask
that maybe it’s time for a means test of corporate responsibility for
Japanese companies that want state contracts.
Please go to
Japan's War on History Comes to America
See also his plan for POW
Kennedy praised the POW invitation program
In an interview article published in
Asahi Shimbun on Jan. 23, US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy said:
courage on the part of the participants to come back to Japan and learn how
Japan has changed.
Please read Ambassador Kennedy’s
remarks on the POWs.
Courage to Speak Out
An essay on the late Iris
Chang and Rabbi Abraham Cooper
Please go to "Courage
to Speak Out."
remembers his POW uncle
Essay written by Norman Read, Jr. the nephew of
the late Mr.
Louis Read, was posted.
Please go to "My Uncle, Louis Read."
Report on former POW Robert Heer’s visit to Hakodate
Detailed report on Robert and Karen
Heer’s visit to Hakodate, Japan, written by Yuka Ibuki was posted.
Their visit to the former POW campsite was made very meaningful by support
from local people.
Please go to
Former POW honored by Japan
On December 2, 2013 Dr. Lester
Tenney, the last National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and
Corregidor, was honored at the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC.
Mr. Satoru Yatsuka of the Japanese
Embassy presented a medal and a commendation letter to Dr. Tenney.
Congressman Darrell Issa, in whose district Dr. Tenney resides, and Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Japan and Korean Affairs James Zumwalt also
The citation reads as follows:
Japan extends his deepest regards to
Dr. Lester Tenney
in recognition of his distinguished service
in contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship
between Japan and the United States of America.
2, 2013, in Washington, DC.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
to the United States of America
DAS Zumwalt, Mr. Yatsuka, Mrs. Betty Tenney, Dr. Tenney, Congressman Issa
Dr. Tenney’s family
Mr. Clay Perkins and his wife
Dorothy both of whom are good friends of the Tenneys’, former POW Mr. John Mims, and ADBC
Memorial Society President Prof. Jan Thompson also attended.
Support for an Educational Project sought
Announcement for the "Brooke County
Public Library Educational Project" by Mr. Edward Jackfert was posted.
Please go to “Educational
Japanese/POW Friendship Program
Four former POWs, three widows and
their family members participated in the fourth Japanese/POW Friendship
Please see the picture report on their visit to
2013 Japanese/POW Friendship Program
The government of Japan will invite four former POWs, three widows, and their family members for an 8-day-trip to Japan as the fourth Japanese/POW Friendship
Following participants will arrive in Japan
on October 13.
W. Coon (94), US Army 31st Infantry
He is a full blood member of the Muskogee Creek Nation. He became a POW
after the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942 and was forced to walk the Bataan
Death March. He was sent to Japan in 1944 and was held at
camp, where he was forced to work in a copper mine.
B. Heer (91), US Army Air Corps
He became a POW in Mindanao on May 10, 1942. He was sent to Japan after
being held in POW camps in Formosa (Taiwan) nearly two years. He was held in
POW camps in Hokkaido and
liberated at Akabira camp where he was forced to work in a
R. Johnson (91), US Army Air Corps
He became a POW after the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942 and was forced to
walk the Bataan Death March. He was shipped to Mukden, Manchuria in October
of 1942. He was forced to work there until he was liberated by the Soviet
troops on August 17, 1945.
A. Roslansky (90), US Marine Corps
He became a POW when the island of Guam fell to the Japanese forces on
December 9, 1941. He was sent to Zentsuji POW camp in Shikoku, Japan and
forced to work as a freight laborer for three years and ten months until his
liberation in 1945.
Cummins, widow of Ferron E. Cummins, US Army Air Corps
Ferron became a POW on April 9, 1942 and survived the Bataan Death March. He
was sent to Japan in September of 1944 and held at
Mukaishima POW camp. He
was forced to work as a stevedore until he was liberated.
McGrew, widow of Alfred McGrew, US Army
Alfred became a POW on May 6, 1942 on Corregidor. He was sent to Japan in
August 1944 and was held at three camps in Japan. At one of the camps,
Nisshin Flour Mill,
he cooked for his fellow POWs. He was finally liberated at Suwa POW camp in
Jennings, widow of Clinton Jennings, US Army
Clinton became a POW when Corregidor fell on May 6, 1942. He was sent to
Japan in August of 1944. He was held at
Fukuoka 23 Keisen camp
Fukuoka #9 camp. At both camps he was forced
to work in coal mines.
Kennedy, Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and the POW issue
An op-ed article by Rabbi Abraham
Cooper on the above topics was published by Mainichi Shimbun, Japan’s third
largest newspaper, on October 3. He wrote:
Her willingness to carry on the legacy of the painful chapter of our two
countries in order to deepen our friendship gives us hope while encouraging
all of us to do the same…
A visit by president Obama represents a unique opportunity for two former
foes and long time democratic allies to open a chapter to the future based
on mutual trust and truth. I wish Ambassador Kennedy all the best in paving
the way for President Obama’s visit to Japan’s atomic ground zero. Her
father would be proud and his fellow Pacific War veterans will appreciate
her effort to help younger generations on both sides of the Pacific better
understand the road that ran between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki.
The entire article can be read
Rabbi Cooper is Associate Dean
Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Edward Jackfert, two-time National Commander of the
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, shared his memories and advice during
POW Eddie Jackfert tells his story, creates museum, broadcast by
Virginia Public Broadcasting Radio.
In 2002 Mr. Jackfert donated his POW collection to the
County Public Library in his hometown, Wellsburg, WV. Soon other donations
from other POWs have poured in. With a collection of tens of thousands of artifacts, documents, and photographs, and oral histories, the American
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum has become a center for research
on the history of American POWs of the Japanese.
Jackfert says he only hopes that someone will learn something from all the
people that war is nothing but death and destruction. Let’s teach the young
ones: this is what you’re going to encounter if you don’t do something about
it. Let’s get some schools, some universities, let’s get some clubs running.
War will not solve the international problems. We need something else.”
Edward Jackfert addressing on POW/MIA Day. Scott
Francis Dennison, Charlotte Lohr, Jane Kraina (ADBC
Museum Coordinator), Mary Kay Wallace
(Brooke County Public Library Director),
George Wallace (editor of the Brooke Review),
Edward and his wife Henrietta
(More about them
Learn more about the ADBC Museum by visiting
documentary screened in Los Angeles
NEVER THE SAME: The Prisoner of War Experience,
produced by Jan Thompson, was screened at the Museum of Tolerance in Los
Angeles on August 15.
Nearly 300 people came and watched this powerful documentary. Joining
them were producer Jan Thompson and ten former POWs (front row in the picture) as well as Ms. Loretta Swit,
who narrated the film, and three actors who read POW diaries and letters (in
the back row).
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which runs the Museum
of Tolerance, introduced Jan Thompson to the audience. A congratulatory
message from Congressman Mike Honda was read by Ms. Swit.
Ed Lester Don Harry Lorreta Bill Jan Bill
Houston Harold Jim Friese,
Swit, Eldridge, Thompson,
in the picture was former POW Warren Jorgenson.)
screening, Mr. Mike Farrell wrote this
essay for the Huffingon Post.
more about the film, please visit
Never The Same .
Article on the Atomic bomb
the Atomic Bomb and Its Lesson: Searching for True Dialogue Between Japan
and the United States," written by Kinue Tokudome, the Director of this
website, was published in the Japanese monthly magazine Ushio on
translation can be read here.
Memorial service for POWs
On August 3, the annual memorial service for those POWs who died in Japan
during WWII was held at the Yokohama Commonwealth War Cemetery. More than
1,700 POWs from British Commonwealth countries were buried in this cemetery.
In addition, on the wall of cemetery's memorial hall are
names of 48 American POWs
who died in Moji after arriving there on a Hellship.
are making sure that the history of Allied POWs won't be forgotten
Documentary on experience of American POWs of the Japanese
the Same,” produced by three-time Emmy Award-winning director Ms. Jan
Thompson will be shown at Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in
Los Angeles on August 15.
For more details, please visit
website of the Museum of Tolerance.
Jan is the president of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor
Memorial Society and the daughter of the late
Mr. Robert Thompson who was a POW of the Japanese.
Former POW honored while his great-grandson promotes dialogue in Japan
On June 15, the
National WWII Museum in New Orleans bestowed its Silver Service
Medallion on Dr. Lester Tenney, a survivor of the Bataan Death March and
forced labor in Japan. This is what they said about Dr. Tenney, who served
as the last National Commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and
The National World War II Museum awards the Silver Service Medallion to Dr.
Lester Tenney whose life selflessly reflected the values and spirit of those
who served our country during the World War II years. It was through Dr.
Tenney’s courage and sacrifice, his initiative and generosity that he was
able to inspire others. It was through his efforts that a Japanese /American
POW visitation programs began, and an apology was received from the Japanese
Board of Trustees Chairman Mr. Richard Adkerson, President & CEO Gordon
and with his wife, Betty
Meanwhile, Dr. Tenney’s 15-year-old great-grandson, Parker Levi, attended a
gathering of former Siberian internees and Japanese Diet members during his
recent trip to Tokyo with his family. When the talk turned to the POW
issues, Parker gave a short speech, in Japanese, about his great-grandfather.
I’ve been studying Japanese for two years at school. I love to talk and
read in Japanese.
My great-grandfather was
an American soldier. He was captured and held in the POW camps for three
years and a half…
He forgave the Japanese because a group of Japanese people apologized to
him. Now my great-grandfather and I love Japan, the Japanese people, and the
with Mr. Koichi Ikeda, a former Siberian Internee and friend of Dr. Tenney
Parker’s speech in his own writing
Ibuki, Tokyo representative of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs and a good
friend of Dr. Tenney, arranged for Parker to attend this meeting .
speech in its original Japanese and the English
translation can be read here.
Allied POW museum opens in Shenyang, China
Former Mukden POW camp run by the Japanese military has just been opened to
the public as a historical museum.
The Chinese government spent more than five million yuan (815,500 US
dollars) restoring the original look of the camp, as well as installing a
museum and a memorial wall inscribed with the names of over 200 Allies who
died there due to severe cold and diseases, including malaria and dysentery.
about the museum.
video on the opening of the POW Museum.
Mukden POW camp."
British POW son traced his father’s footsteps
Mr. Terry Smyth shared his experience of visiting Mine city where his
father, Mr. Edwin Smyth, was held. Please read, “Divided
by War, United in Friendship.”
for Mukaishima POWs
group of volunteers built a memorial for those who died at Mukaishima POW
“Why we built the memorial plates on Mukaishima: An
American flag after 68 years,” written by Mr. Koshi Kobayashi to learn
more about the memorial.
Dr. Tenney’s op-ed article
On May 13, Japan Times published, “Shift the focus, Mr. Prime Minister,”
written by Dr. Lester Tenney.
…don’t let this
opportunity for understanding slip away, an apology is so much more
important than trying to determine the meaning of “aggressor.”
Please read the
Visit with Mr. Zamperini
Kinue Tokudome, Founder and Director of US-Japan Dialogue on POWs, visited
Mr. Louis Zamperini, whose story was chronicled by the best-selling
book, Unbroken, at his home.
He shared his memory of his post-war
visit to Japan and of his speaking to many college students there.
Please read the interview article with the
author, Laura Hillenbrand.
Meeting with the new Japanese Ambassador
On April 23, Dr. Lester Tenney, the last National Commander of the American
Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, met with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro
Sasae in the office of Congressman Darrel Issa. The meeting was arranged by
Mr. Clay Perkins, a long time friend of Dr. Tenney's and supporter of the
POW issue. Both Dr. Tenney and Mr. Perkins reside in California's 49th
district, represented by Congressman Issa.
Dr. Tenney asked Ambassador Sasae to continue the POW
visitation program while Congressman Issa expressed his strong support
for the POW issue.
Congressman Issa, Amb. Sasae, Dr. Tenney and Mr. Perkins
Dr. Lester Tenney, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, was featured in a
'Dying was easy: It's the living that's hard'
Former POW keeps in touch with Japanese children
Douglas Northam, who participated in 2012
Japan/POW Friendship Program, keeps in touch with the children at Takami
Elementary School in Osaka city he visited during the trip.
Mr. and Mrs. Northam recently sent them a children’s book (pictured here),
which was recommended by their daughter.
Here is a reply from the principal of Takami School.
Dear Mr. and Mrs.
Thank you for sending us
the book. We read it to our students and they were very happy. Children
remember “grandpas who visited us from America” very well. We believe that
they will cherish the memory of listening to your words on the “Importance
of Peace.” Thank you very much for that wonderful memory.
Principal, Takami Elementary School, Osaka
Student of Takami School asking questions
to former POWs (Oct, 18, 2012)
Please read Mr. Northam’s reflection on
his trip to Japan.
Stars and Stripes article on former POWs' trip to Osaka area.
Ms. Charlie Reed, the author of above article, also wrote this recent
village honors US airmen killed in WWII.”
POW issue in the Congressional Research Service Report
A recent report by the Congressional Research Service entitled, "Japan-US
Relations: Issues for Congress," mentioned the POW issue. It said:
In the 112th Congress, three resolutions—S.Res. 333, H.Res. 324, and H.Res.
333—were introduced thanking the government of Japan for its apology and for
arranging the visitation program. The resolutions also encouraged the
Japanese to do more for the U.S. POWs, including by continuing and expanding
the visitation programs as well as its World War II education efforts. They
also called for Japanese companies to apologize for their or their
predecessor firms’ use of un- or inadequately compensated forced prison
laborers during the war.
Entire section on the POW issue can be read
to the State Department
president of ADBC Memorial Society, sent a letter to the State Department
asking for their support for continuation of Japan’s POW visitation program.
As representative of the
surviving POWs of Japan, their families, and descendants, the ADBC Memorial
Society asks you to encourage Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his
visit next week to continue and expand his government’s visitation program
to Japan for American former POWs.
Please read the entire letter.
President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima/Nagasaki and remembering POW history
Tokudome’s op-ed article
on this topic was
published in the Mainichi Shimbun, Japan’s third largest daily newspaper, on
English translation can be read at:
Minister Abe to Visit the United States:
Should Invite President Obama to Visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Bataan Death March denial article rebutted
American POWs of Japan, website for a
research project of Asia Policy Point, a Washington DC-based nonprofit that
studies the US policy relationship with Japan and Northeast Asia, posted a
report entitled, “Denier
of the Bataan Death March.”
includes English translation of an article published in a popular Japanese
monthly Magazine Seiron together with corrections to some of the
statements made in the article regarding the history of the Battle of
The corrections were prepared in cooperation with
Dr. Stanley Falk, former chief
historian of the U.S. Air Force and a military historian specializing in
World War II in the Pacific. He is the author of the authoritative history,
Bataan: The March of Death.
The comprehensive history of Battle of Bataan can be found in "United
States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific, The Fall of the
Philippines," whose author Louis Morton acknowledged Dr. Falk’s
contribution to this volume.
Causes of the Bataan Death March Revisited,” written by Mr. James
Nelson, whose father was forced to work at Mitsubishi's Osarizawa copper
mine, incorporates information from both US and Japanese sides.
A film depicting the Bataan Death March in 2007 PBS series “The War” can be seen