Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Frequent Correspondent...

...has reminded me that Temple University will be hosting a presentation by U.S. POWs of Japan on Monday the 17th at 18:00.

What makes the visit special in terms of U.S.-Japan relations is that is the first arranged by the Government of Japan as part of a program of visits by former POWs and their families. Prior to this, the Government of Japan visit program was restricted to U.K. and Netherlands POWs, for reasons no one could reasonably explain -- though unreasonably, it likely had something to do with the presence of U.S. bases in Japan and the absence of commensurate U.K. and Dutch bases.

Anyway, these men are very, very mature. If you want to hear their stories, you will likely not have another chance.

These are not on the whole angry men. However, they still have issues with Japanese institutions, even after the quiet and very limited apology made by Ambassador Fujisaki Ichiro in 2009. They are still demanding the back wages they are owed by the companies who employed them during their imprisonment. Neither the GOJ nor the U.S. government are supporting these claims, though the amounts, due to inflation, are now trifling.

So if you are free next Monday eve, there is a probably last chance to see some folks who lived history, rather than watched it pass by.

The Temple page on the event can be found at:


Joe said...

Not in the region. Make sure someone shoots video!

Armchair Asia said...

Actually, it is the Second trip by American former POWs of the Japan.

Last year, Japan's Foreign Ministry initiated the trips and Foreign Minister Okada delivered an official apology to the POWs. However, the text, like Amb. Fujisaki's, is not publicly available in any language.

This year's trip also does not include descendants-- An unfortunate oversight. Further the conduct of the men will determine if there will be other trips. The implications of this to men who were so abused by Japanese are insulting at best.

Most important, the men no longer seek compensation. They seek recognition and apology. They want the Japanese companies that enslaved them for profit and tortured them for malice, to apologize. They want these companies to create a fund for remembrance to preserve their history and to ensure the peace. They want the companies to fund these trips.

For more information, see: