Plunge Pontificates

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Taro Aso castigated by former British POWs

This moron is finally getting his due. He is being ripped up one side and down the other from people and nations around the world. I wonder what it will take for him to come around and realize there is a problem?

This is one of the harshest articles I've read outside of Korea and China towards Aso and Japan in general for their failure to face the past. Hopefully Japan will start to realize that it isn't only China and Korea that are appalled by this lack of contrition.

Japan's embattled Foreign Minister, Taro Aso, has been denounced by British former PoWs for his connection to Allied prisoners forced to work in slave-like conditions in his family's coalmines during the Second World War.

Aso, under harsh criticism from Washington to Beijing for what the New York Times called his 'offensive and inflammatory' attitudes, has never admitted or apologised for his firm's use of slave labour. Nor has the Japanese government paid compensation to the hundreds of thousands of enslaved workers, or to the families of the many who died.


Arthur Titherington, 84, chairman of the Japanese Labour Camps Survivors' Association, said: 'It's quite disgraceful, but it's absolutely typical of Japanese politicians from the Prime Minister down. Taro Aso is obviously as two-faced as it's possible to get. This is quite normal with the Japanese. They refuse flatly to admit to anything. I've been attempting to get a meaningful apology since 1946. Over the years they've been killing the story with silence.'

Yet, to Japan's surprise and irritation, its silence and indifference over this and other unresolved war crimes have now become its main obstacle to good relations with Asian neighbours. They suffered the most from its atrocities, which began even before the 1931 invasion of northern China, and caused the deaths of millions across the Far East.

Aso's coal mines exploited an estimated 12,000 Korean slave labourers as well as 101 British prisoners at its Yoshikuma pit in the southern island of Kyushu. Enslaved workers there - and in other firms' pits - were kept in appalling and dangerous conditions. They were starved and beaten. Many died.

Authorities in Tokyo ordered records destroyed in 1945, but three amateur historians in Kyushu have documented what happened from local sources. They found the workers were underground for 15 hours a day seven days a week.


'The Japanese didn't care because they knew the men were replaceable,' Cairns said. 'They were callous and indifferent and we've always been horrified that these people were able to get away with not just murder, but sadistic murder, and have never had to say sorry.'

Neither Aso nor the Foreign Ministry answered Observer inquiries about the forced labour issue.
And they wonder why people have a problem with how they have dealt with the past?