During Visit to Japan: Wiesenthal Center Official Commends Mitsubishi Materials President for Public Apology to Former Allied POW Forced Laborers During WWII

August 3, 2015               


Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper also leads memorial service at entrance to Mitsubishi mine


Following an historic formal apology by Mitsubishi Materials to WWII POWs it forced into labor which was held at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean, traveled to Japan and met with Mitsubishi Materials President Akira Takeuchi to thank him for taking the bold step in apologizing for his company’s treatment of Allied POWs during WWII.

“I expressed my hope to him and other Japanese leaders that Mitsubishi Materials’ historic apology will inspire other major Japanese companies to quickly follow their lead,” Rabbi Cooper said, adding, “This month will mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Asia/Pacific region and the last survivors of that era will soon pass into history. Sincere apologies to the actual victims will contribute to an environment conducive for real reconciliation,” Rabbi Cooper added.


Rabbi Cooper also traveled together with human rights activist Kinue Tokudome and Peter Gover of the Foundation for California, to the Hosokura Mine outside Kurihara City, which had belonged to Mitsubishi Material and where many POWs toiled under extreme conditions. During a ceremony recalling the suffering of American POWs, the first person recollections of one American was read aloud, including the shocking announcement made to all the Allied POWs that if the US would invade Japan, all of them would be executed. Cooper, also led a memorial service for the forced laborers at the mine’s entrance. 


Rabbi  Cooper had high praise for Mrs. Tokudome, the Founder and Director of U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs (http://www.us-japandialogueonpows.org). “You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has worked so  selflessly in promoting understanding  between the people of Japan and the United States by learning the truth of what happened during WWII and for her tireless work in urging Japanese corporations to acknowledge their predecessors’ wrongdoings during WWII."


Photo: Rabbi Cooper presents a menorah to Mitsubishi Materials President Akira Takeuchi. 





Photo: Rabbi Cooper and Kinue Tokedome at the memorial service at the Hosokura Mine entrance. 


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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).