|Mr. Murphy's Memoir|
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Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my constituent, a member of our greatest generation from Santa Maria, California, James T. Murphy . On Sunday, July 19th, 2015, at the age of 94, Mr. Murphy had the historic honor of being offered the first Japanese corporate apology for his forced labor as an American prisoner of war (POW) in Japan during World War II.
During World War II, Mitsubishi Mining Company Ltd. used the labor of over 900 Americans in four of its coal and copper mines on mainland Japan. Mr. Murphy, one of the last surviving American former POWs to have worked as a slave laborer in one of these mines, graciously accepted an apology from the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, the successor of Mitsubishi Mining Company, on behalf of his fellow veterans.
A Texas native, Mr. Murphy fought in the Philippines with the U.S. Army Air Corps beginning with the bombing of Nichols Field on December 8, 1941 until surrender in Bataan on April 9, 1942. He endured the Bataan Death March and a "Hell ship'' to Japan. During the war, Imperial Japan assigned over 13,000 Americans to work in corporate mines, factories, and docks to support the war effort. Mr. Murphy was assigned to POW Camp Sendai #6-B and forced to mine copper at Mitsubishi's Osarizawa mine near the town of Hanawa in Sendai, Japan.
After liberation, he continued to serve with the then-new U.S. Air Force and retired in 1962 after a 23-year career. Captain Murphy later moved to my district in California, working as a civilian contractor with Lockheed Missile & Space Company at Vandenberg Air Force Base and finally retiring in 1986 to Santa Maria.
On July 19th 2015 Mr. Hikaru Kimura, a Senior Corporate Executive of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation and Senior General Manager of Global Business Management at the Paint Finishing System Division of Taikisha Ltd, delivered to him the official apology at a ceremony held at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
Mr. Murphy responded, ``it is a glorious day.'' He continued, ``For 70 years, we wanted such action. Today we have it so I'm elated over that, and I hope this historical occasion just spreads out through the world and helps mankind.''
And it is with grateful recognition for all our veterans swept up in the Pacific battles of the first months of World War II, many of whom became POWs of Imperial Japan, that I insert both Mitsubishi Materials' historic apology statement and Captain Murphy's acceptance.
Remembering the stories of these POWs both in Japan and in the United States is important for history, for the U.S.-Japan relationship, and for all those who care about peace.
STATEMENT OF JAMES T. MURPHY , In RESPONSE TO MITSUBISHI APOLOGY TO WWII POWS, Delivered at the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center--Los Angeles, CA, July 19, 2015
This is a great day to be here at the Museum of Tolerance because at this place and at this time, history will truly be made.
We have just heard Mitsubishi's [Materials Corporation] representative, Mr. [Hikaru] Kimura, present a stirring, heartfelt, warm and sincere apology to former U.S. Prisoners of War who were forced to work for Mitsubishi Mining during World War II.
His apology meets all the criteria necessary to satisfy the elements of an acceptable apology. It admits to wrongdoing, it makes sincere statements showing a deep remorse for the wrongdoing and it assures that the wrongdoing will not recur.
As a former Prisoner of War of the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces who was forced to work at the Mitsubishi [Osarizawa] copper mine near Hanawa, Japan during part of 1944 and part of 1945 and being one of the few surviving workers of that time, I find it to be my duty and responsibility to accept Mr. Kimura's apology!
Hopefully, the acceptance of this sincere apology will bring some closure and relief to the age-old problems confronting the surviving former Prisoners of War and to their family members.
Additionally, even though the Japanese people and the American people have a long-standing friendly relationship, the action that we are taking today will further enhance, expand and assure an enduring trust and friendship benefitting both nations.
Furthermore, I join others in this group who foster the idea of encouraging the dozens of other Japanese companies who used forced labor by the Allied Prisoners of War to offset their workforce shortage to follow Mitsubishi Materials' progressive leadership.
Solving this long overdue problem would permit the companies and their former laborers to look forward to a better future rather than continue to look backward to their differences.
Such actions would have positive results for both of our nations by strengthening our trust, confidence and friendship. Perhaps other nations with similar problems will follow our example here today with similar actions.
Such actions would result in the betterment to all mankind.
Mr. Kimura, we thank you and the other members of your team for your hard work and long hours spent formulating and presenting Mitsubishi Materials' apology.
Statement by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, Senior Executive Officer Hikaru Kimura in the Meeting With a Former American POW and Families of Former POWs
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, speaking on behalf of Mitsubishi Materials, thank you very much for this opportunity to meet with you today at the Museum of Tolerance.
Mitsubishi Mining Company Limited, the predecessor of Mitsubishi Materials, was engaged in coal and metal mining during World War II. As the war intensified, prisoners of war were placed in a wide range of industries to offset labor shortages. As part of this, close to 900 American POWs were allocated to four mines operated by Mitsubishi Mining in Japan.
I joined Mitsubishi Materials as a postwar baby-boomer and have worked in the company for 34 years. I have read the memoirs of Mr. James Murphy , who is present here at this ceremony, and those of other former POWs, as well as records of court trials. Through these accounts, I have learned about the terrible pain that POWs experienced in the mines of Mitsubishi Mining.
The POWs, many of whom were suffering from disease and injury, were subjected to hard labor, including during freezing winters, working without sufficient food, water, medical treatment or sanitation. When we think of their harsh lives in the mines, we cannot help feeling deep remorse.
I would like to express our deepest sense of ethical responsibility for the tragic experiences of all U.S. POWs, including Mr. James Murphy, who were forced to work under harsh conditions in the mines of the former Mitsubishi Mining.
On behalf of Mitsubishi Materials. I offer our sincerest apology.
I also extend our deepest condolence to their fellow U.S. POWs who worked alongside them but have since passed away.
To the bereaved families who are present at this ceremony, I also offer our most remorseful apology.
This cannot happen again, and of course, Mitsubishi Materials intends to never let this happen again.
We now have a clear corporate mission of working for the benefit of all people, all societies and indeed the entire globe. Respecting the basic human rights of all people is a core principle of Mitsubishi Materials, and we will continue to strongly adhere to this principle. Our management team wishes for the health and happiness of our employees every day, and we ask that all of them work not only diligently, but also with a sense of ethics.
Mitsubishi Materials supplies general materials that enrich people's lives, from cement to cellphone components and auto parts, all of which are closely related to people's lives. We also place a strong emphasis on recycling for more sustainable societies, such as recovering valuable metals from used electrical appliances and other scrapped materials.
Here in the United States, we have plants for cement and ready-mixed concrete, and a sales headquarters for our advanced materials and tools business, all in California, as well as a polysilicon plant in Alabama.
We believe that our company provides fulfilling jobs for local employees and contributes to host communities through its business.
The American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Museum in Wellsburg, West Virginia archives extensive records and memorabilia of POWs. These records and memorabilia will be handed down to future generations for educational purposes.
I will visit the museum the day after tomorrow to view the exhibits and visualize how POWs were forced to work under harsh conditions. For now, however, I am pleased to announce that Mitsubishi Materials has donated 50,000 US dollars to the museum to support its activities.
Finally, I sincerely thank Ms. Kinue Tokudome and the members of the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society for creating this opportunity to meet with you today.
I also express my sincere thanks to Rabbi Abraham Cooper for offering the Museum of Tolerance as a venue for the ceremony. And I express my deep gratitude to all others involved in arranging this gathering.
I would also like to thank the family members of a non-U.S. POW [Mr. Stanley Gibson from Scotland, whose father also was a slave laborer in the Mitsubishi Osarizawa mine] who have come from very far away to attend this ceremony.
I truly hope that this gathering marks the starting point of a new relationship between former POWs and Mitsubishi Materials. Thank you very much.