In this 1942 file photo provided by U.S. Marine Corps, Japanese soldiers stand guard over American war prisoners just before the start of the Bataan Death March following the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. (U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)
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A major Japanese corporation will offer a landmark apology this weekend for using U.S. prisoners of war for forced labor during World War II, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center that is hosting the event.A senior executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corp. will apologize to 94-year-old James Murphy, of Santa Maria, California, and relatives of other former POWs who toiled at plants its predecessor company operated in Japan during the conflict.Some 12,000 American prisoners were shipped to Japan and forced to work at more than 50 sites to support imperial Japan's war effort, and about 10 percent died, according to Kinue Tokudome, director of the U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs, who has spearheaded the lobbying effort for companies to apologize.Tokudome said Mitsubishi Materials will be apologizing for its use of forced labor by some 900 American troops at four locations operated by its predecessor company, Mitsubishi Mining Co.Murphy spent one year at a copper mine near Hanawa with about 500 other POWs, an experience he described as "a complete horror".Murphy said if other companies followed suit, it would help provide closure for surviving POWs and build a better relationship between Japan and the United States, already close allies.
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