• James Murphy

James Murphy (Photo : Reuters)

As Japan prepares to mark seven decades since the end of World War Two, the Japanese company Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has offered a historic apology to the American prisoners of war who were forced into slave labor in the company's mines.

In a momentous ceremony at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, top executives of Mitsubishi led by  Hikaru Kimura issued an official apology to the families of American POWs who were mistreated and essentially used as slave labor in their mines during the war, according to CNN.

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In the 2009 and again in 2010, the Japanese government had expressed regret for its actions during World War 2, but this move by Mitsubishi marks the first time a private company has publicly apologized for its actions during the war.

Among the families of dead POWs was James Murphy, one of only 2 living survivors of the 900 captured American soldiers who were forced to work in the company's mines, was there to receive the apology.

"I've listened very carefully to Mr. Kimura's statement of apology and found it very, very sincere, humble and revealing," Murphy said.

The Japanese company was not offering monetary reparation to the POWs or their families, but has faced lawsuits in the past.

The delegation from Mitsubishi was also set to visit a museum that honors the American survivors of the Bataan Death March and will reportedly donate $50,000 in support of the museum's programs, according to Daily Mail.

Statistics show that around 12,000 American soldiers were captured by the Imperial Japanese forces during World War Two. These POWs were forced into labor and spread out at 50 different sites in order to support the war effort.