Mitsubishi, Nippon Mitsui Mining, ... and World War II Slave Labor

Frank Bigelow

The following is an excerpt from Frank Bigelow's Testimony/Statement to US Senate on June 2000 on his POW Slave Labor experience at Mitsui Mining Corp:

The Japanese army delivered us to a coal mine everyday owned by Mitsui, one of the biggest business conglomerates in Japan. We were their slave labor. Mitsui Mining was right up there in front. We were told to work or die.

Long hours and short rations, usually tiny portions or rice and seaweed soup, could barely sustain us as we were doing heavy physical labor. I was skin and bones. At 6 foot 4 inches and just 95 pounds. We worked as many as 27 days straight. We were beaten, badly.

Since my bones were so brittle from malnutrition, one night, when a huge rock fell on my leg, it broke my bones like old dead twigs. There was another American POW, Dr. Thomas Hewlett. He improvised with 2 sharpened bicycle spokes. One through my knee and one through my ankle. Eventually, I got gangrene. Due to lack of choice, since we had no medical supplies, much less surgical supplies, he had to do what you call a guillotine operation. He had a hacksaw blade and razor blade, some knives, and 4 guys holding me down. He resorted to a primitive method to battle the growing infection. He put maggots inside the bandage. When he took them out . . . he pulled out the infection. That man saved me and the rest of my leg.


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(Last Updated: January 15, 2004.)

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"Since my bones were so brittle from malnutrition, one night, when a huge rock fell on my leg, it broke my bones like old dead twigs."

A Mitsubishi- Eclipse of Ethics presentation.