Mitsubishi, the Japanese materials manufacturer, has apologised for using US prisoners of war as forced labour during World War Two.
During a ceremony in Los Angeles, believed to be the first of its kind, Hikaru Kimura, a senior executive, said he was sorry for using the prisoners for labour in mines.
James Murphy, a surviving inhabitant of the Japanese camps, attended the ceremony to accept the award. The 94-year-old said it was a “glorious day… for 70 years we wanted this”.
“I listened very carefully to Mr Kimura's statement of apology and found it very very sincere, humble and revealing,” Murphy said.
“We hope that we can go ahead now and have a better understanding, a better friendship and closer ties with our ally, Japan.”
The Japanese government formally apologised to American prisoners of war in 2009 and again in 2010, Mitsubishi’s apology was the first one issued by a Japanese corporation.
Of the 500 American soldiers captured and forced to work, only two could be located, the BBC reported, and only Murphy was well enough to attend the ceremony. Murphy described his camp near a copper mine near Hanawa as “a complete horror”.
“It was slavery in every way: no food, no medicine, no clothing, no sanitation,” he said.
NB: An earlier version of this story mistook Mitsubishi Materials for Mitsubishi Motors, the car manufacturer. This has been amended.Reuse content