70 years after WWII, Japanese firm apologizes to US vets

Yukio Okamoto, Outside Board Member of Mitsubishi Materials and former Special Advisor to Japan's Prime Minister, left, and Hikaru Kimura, Senior Executive Officer Mitsubishi Materials, offer an apology as they hold hands with 94-year-old U.S. prisoner of war, James Murphy, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, July 19, 2015. 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. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Yukio Okamoto, Outside Board Member of Mitsubishi Materials and former Special Advisor to Japan's Prime Minister, left, and Hikaru Kimura, Senior Executive Officer Mitsubishi Materials, offer an apology as they hold hands with 94-year-old U.S. prisoner of war, James Murphy, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, July 19, 2015. 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. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A major Japanese corporation has given an unprecedented apology to a 94-year-old U.S. POW for using American prisoners of war for forced labor during World War II.

At a solemn ceremony Sunday with U.S. and Japanese flags projected behind them, POW James Murphy accepted the apology from executives of Mitsubishi Materials.

Murphy, who was forced to work in Mitsubishi copper mines under harsh conditions during the war, called the day glorious and historic and said the apology was sincere and remorseful.

The event was hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

The Japanese government has twice apologized to U.S. POWs for subjecting them to forced labor during the war. But Sunday’s apology was the first from a Japanese corporation, according to organizers.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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