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Mitsubishi Apology For POW Labor Likely Too Little, Too Late

Japanese company Mitsubishi will apologize to American prisoners of war for forcing them to work as slaves during World War II.

By Sebastian Martinez | July 19, 2015

Like several companies, Mitsubishi contributed to the Axis war effort during World War II, primarily making aircraft for Japan. (Video via U.S. National Archives)

And, like several of those Axis companies, Mitsubishi used prisoners of war as forced labor.

So now, Mitsubishi, like some of those other companies, is apologizing. 

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In Los Angeles Sunday, the company is making (made) a formal apology to a former American prisoner of war, as well as the relatives of other prisoners of war. (Video via KTVI)

It's far from unprecedented — German outfitter Hugo Boss apologized a couple years ago for using forced labor to manufacture German uniforms. (Video via Hugo Boss)

And it's something the Japanese government has done before — on two occasions in 2009 and 2010. But former POWs demanded more. (Video via NBC)

"These private companies have kept quiet for 65 years. They hope we will die off and all will be back to normal. It will never be back to normal," former POW Lester Tenney said in 2009.

But some critics say Mitsubishi's apology isn't only late, it's not enough.

"An official from Mitsubishi Materials told Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency on Thursday that it will refrain from commenting on whether or not the company plans to apologize to the Korean victims of forced labor during the war," an Arirang anchor said.

A Mitsubishi spokesperson said the company will address that issue after Sunday's apology.

This video includes an image from Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine / CC BY 2.0.

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