YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Seven U.S. veterans held as prisoners of war by Japan during WWII will share their stories of survival during a “reconciliation tour” sponsored by the Japanese government.
The POWs, most of them in their 90s, will speak Monday evening at a public lecture at Temple University in Tokyo. They will spend the rest of next week touring historic landmarks and meeting with Japanese and U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador John Roos.
Some of the POWs will return to the sites of the Japanese companies where they were forced to work.
Japan captured some 27,000 U.S. troops and forced them into slave labor; 40 percent died. Most of the POWs who were brought to Japan were dispersed among more than 100 camps run by approximately 60 companies.
Japan invited the first group of former POWs here in 2010 through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“This is about the war and how to face the past and how to forgive the other side,” Kentaro Hatakeyama, MOFA’s deputy director of the North American Affairs Bureau, told Stars and Stripes that year. “And these things are very difficult.”
IF YOU GO
What: POWs in Japan lecture
Where: Temple University, Japan campus, Minami Azabu, Tokyo
When: Monday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m.
How to get there: www.tuj.ac.jp/maps/tokyo.html