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Japanese Use of Slave Labor in WWII (Read 2359 times)
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Japanese Use of Slave Labor in WWII
Mar 12th, 2007, 5:56pm
Much of the labor used by Japan to keep its war effort functioning during WWII was slave labor.  Japan dragooned tens of thousands of civilians from conquered countries such as Korea, China and the Philippines into this service, and also used many thousands of captured American, British, Dutch and Australian POWs in direct  violation of accepted rules of warfare.  Large numbers of these slave laborers died of overwork, starvation and physical abuse.  Despite numerous postwar lawsuits demanding reparations, Japan has never faced up to its guilt or accepted obligations for any comprehensive form of compensation to its victims.  In part, this is due to what most consider an overly generous peace treaty the U.S. signed with Japan, designed more with an eye to keeping Japan out of the communist political sphere following the war, then to achieving any real measure of justice for the victims of Japanese aggression and abuse.

The book Unjust Enrichment: How Japan's Companies Built Postwar Fortunes Using American POWs by Linda Goetz Holmes gives some sense of the complicity of Japanese firms in this slave labor abuse.  Indeed, nine out of ten U.S. POWs who died in WWII, died in Japanese custody.

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