POWs win apology from Japan
THE Federal Government has welcomed an apology by Japan to five Australian diggers held prisoner during World War II.
The former POWs have m e t w i t h J a p a n e s e Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in Tokyo.
‘ ‘ F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r Maehara’s apology was made in a spirit of reconciliation,’’ Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said yesterday.
‘‘ The Australian government welcomes ( the) apology to Australian prisoners of war for the horrors they endured under Japanese control in World War II.’’
One member of t he group, Harold Ramsey, 89, said the apology from Mr Maehara was sincere.
‘‘ We waited a long time but it was sincere and much better time than when I was here before in 1944,’’ he said after meeting Mr Maehara.
‘‘ This is really very sincere.’’
Before the meeting, Mr Ramsey said ‘‘ if you go through life full of hate, the only person you hurt is yourself’’.
The former POW from Victoria joined the army at the age of 18.
He was captured in Java while still a private, and worked building the Thai-Burma railway bef o r e b e i n g s e n t t o Kawasaki, near Tokyo.