|About POW Research Network Japan|
About POW Research Network Japan
During the World War 2, the Japanese Armed Forces captured about 140,000 Allied military personnel (Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States) in the Southeast Asia and Pacific areas. They were forced to engage in the hard labor of constructing the railways, roads, airfields, etc. to be used by the Japanese Armed Forces in the Japanese occupied areas. Of the 140,000 Prisoners of War (POWs), about 36,000 were transported to the Japanese Mainland to supplement the shortage of the work force, and compelled to work at the coal mines, mines, shipyards, monitions factories, etc.
They lived miserable lives, and by the time the war was over, a total of more than 30,000 POWs had died from starvation, diseases, and mistreatment within and outside of the Japanese Mainland. The POWs’ mortality rate was as high as 27%.
Those POWs who survived the war and returned home have suffered from incurable mental and physical wounds, and lived the postwar days harboring a deep hatred against Japan and the Japanese people, which turned out to be harsh emotions hard to restrain, and erupted as flashes of sudden and disturbing rage should anything happen between their countries and Japan, even 60 years since the war was over.
On the other hand, after the war, many Japanese who had been associated with the POW Camp administrations were prosecuted in the war crime tribunals for their mistreatment of the POWs, which left deep scars in the hearts and minds of the Japanese people as well.
At any event, very little has been known about the Allied POWs. This is because at the time of the termination of war, the Japanese Armed Forces destroyed all documents related to the POW Camps. Furthermore, the Japanese Government had been negligent in keeping records of such historical facts during the war.
For the purpose of digging out those buried historical facts, the POW Research Network Japan was inaugurated in March, 2002, and with about 40 members all over the country, we have carried out researches and studies on the Allied POWs, civilian internees, war criminal trials, etc. by helping one another. In addition, we have worked on the interchanging activities with the ex-POWs and their families, and many other activities.
Even today, war or conflict is still going on in some parts of the world, and similar mistakes have repeatedly been made. Therefore, now is the very time for us to learn from the experiences in the past. The first step we should take is to know the facts correctly, and hand them down to the people, especially to the young ones, and to talk about them with the former enemies beyond the barrier of the nationalities to enhance mutual understanding, and further to think together about the ways in which we will be able to prevent a recurrence of such tragedies in the past. We have been endeavoring, and will continue endeavoring to expending our efforts in carrying out the matters as mentioned above, and the results of which will be reported in our website.