POW Research Network Japan>Reports on Activities>Reports of visits to Japan of POWs>Former US POWs visit Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Government in 2014

Reports of visits to Japan of POWs

Former American POWs visit Japan at the fifth invitation of the Japanese Government

Seven former POWs and their family members visited Japan from October 12 to 20, 2014. This is the fifth program that the Japanese government has run for former Australian POWs. All of them were over 90 years old and the oldest was 99 years old. They were warmheartedly welcomed wherever they visited and enjoyed the fruitful trip. Some newspapers and broadcasts reported about their visit.


12 Oct. (Sun) Arrive at Narita airport
13 Oct. (Mon) Visit Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama
14 Oct. (Tue) Meeting with the members of the Diet / Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Meeting with Japanese citizens / Reception by MOFA
15 Oct. (Wed) Visit the American ambassador / Press Conference / Meeting at Temple University
16 Oct. (Thu) Scheduled visits (Osaka & Yokkaichi / Tokyo & Kawasaki / Hitachi)
17 Oct. (Fri) Scheduled visits (former camp sites)
18 Oct. (Sat) Kyoto (Ryozen Kannon / Ritsumeikan International Peace Museum)
19 Oct. (Sun) Sightseeing
20 Oct. (Mon) Depart from Kansai Airport

Visitors' biography

Mr. Anthony Costa, was born in January 1920. 94, California.

Captured in May 5, 1942 in Corregidor
 >> to Japan by Nagato Maru in November 1942
 >> Osaka No.2 Dispatched Camp (Umeda)
 >> to Osaka No.5 Branch Camp (Tsuruga, Fukui Pref.) in May 1945.
  *Carer: His daughter, Ms. Maryann Costa

Mr. Daniel Crowley, was born in May 1922. 92, Connecticut.

Captured in May 6, 1942 in Corregidor
 >> to Japan by Taikoku Maru in March 1944
 >> Tokyo No.8 Branch Camp (Hitachi, Ibaraki Pref.) on April 11, 1944
 >> Tokyo No.9 Branch Camp (Ashio, Tochigi Pref.) in July 1944.
  *Carer: His wife, Ms. Kelley Crowley

Mr. Warren Jorgenson, was born in March 1921. 93, Nebraska.

Captured in May, 1942 in Corregidor
 >> to Japan by Noto Maru in September 1944
 >> Sendai No.6 Branch camp (Osarizawa, Akita Pref.)
  *Carer: His son, Mr. Larry Jorgenson

Mr. Oral C.Nichols Johnson, was born in March 1921. 93, New Mexico.

Went to Wake Island as a laborer in 1940 and was captured there in December 23, 1941
 >> to Shanghai by Nitta Maru in January 1942
 >> Woosung
 >> Kyanwang
 >> Sendai No.11 Branch Camp (Aomori) in July 1945.
  *Carer: His son, Mr. Jefferey Nichols

Mr. William R. Sanchez, was born in July 1918. 96, California.

Captured in Corregidor in May 1942
 >> to Japan by Tottori Maru in October 1942
 >> Tokyo Main Camp (Shinagawa)
 >> Tokyo Main Camp (Omori).
  *Carer: His son, Mr. David Sanchez

Mr. Jack Schwartz , was born in 1915. 98, California.

Captured in Guam in December 9, 1941
 >> to Japan by Argentina Maru
 >> Zentsuji Camp
 >> Tokyo No.2 Branch Camp (Kawasaki)
 >> Osaka No.11 Branch Camp (Rokurokushi, Fukui Pref.).
  *Carer: His son, Mr. Jack W. Schwartz

Mr. Darrel D. Stark, was born in 1923. 91, Connecticut.

While in hospital, he was captured as a POW in April 9, 1942
 >> Canabatuan
 >> Davao Penal Colony
 >> to Japan by Sekiho Maru (Canadian Inventor, "Mati Mati Maru")
 >> Moji in September 1, 1944
 >> Nagoya No.4 Branch Camp (Yokkaichi)
 >> Nagoya No. 11 Branch Camp (Toyama)
  *Carer: His daughter, Ms. Judy Stark Gilbert

13th October: Visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama

  In the Cremation Memorial at this cemetery, 48 Americans' ashes are enshrined. They perished at Moji port after surviving the tragedy of Oryoku maru, Enoura maru and Brazil maru.

14th October: Meeting with the members of the Diet

  Ex-POWs talked about their experience with the members of the Diet who have been making efforts to resolve POW issues.

14th October: Meeting with Japanese citizens

  In the afternoon, a friendship meeting with Japanese citizens was held in Tokyo. It was very fruitful with 60 participants including them. Please see the details >> Link to PDF

15th October: Visit American Embassy

  The ambassador Caroline Kennedy welcomed the POWs. They enjoyed the time with her.

16th – 17th October: Visit former camp sites

POWs divided in three groups visited the POW camp sites where they had been held.

1. Tokyo-Kawasaki group (Mr. Sanchez, Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Nichols)

  Heiwajima Kannon statue at Omori camp site
  At Omori Camp site which became a boat race
  At Showa-Denko Kawasaki factory
  Mitsui Futo where Tokyo 2-B was located

2. Hitachi-Ashio group (Mr. Clowley)

  At Hitachi Mine Museum
  In a tunnel of former Ashio Mine

3. Osaka-Yokkaichi group (Mr. Costa, Mr. Stark and Mr. Jorgenson)

  They visited Ishihara Sangyo Yokkaichi Factory in Yokkaichi City and Nittsu Osaka Branch in Osaka City. There is no photo, as none of POWRNJ members could accompany them.

18th -19th October: Visit Kyoto

All members gathered at Kyoto. They visited Ryozen Kannon Temple where more than 40,000 cards of POWs and civilian internees, who perished during the WW2, are kept. They also visited Ritsumeikan University International Peace Museum and enjoyed sightseeing.

  At Ryozen Kannon Temple