Mitsubishi, ... and World War II Slave Labor

George Francis

Excerpts from George Francis' website ( http://fourthmarinesband.com/francis4.htm )on Niigata 5-B Tokyo Area POW Command camp for Stevedore labor at port of Niigata, primarily coal and foodstuffs:

The camp - No. 5-B - was located several miles from the city of Niigata. It was a two story building with a small yard. That was it. Later, I was to find out that it was considered the worst POW camp in all of Japan. It didnít take us long to find out how really bad life was going to be.

I was assigned to work for this man in the docks where coal from Manchuria was unloaded into small cars each holding about a half ton. One man pushed a car along rails mounted on a trestle about 30 feet above ground. The coal was dumped over different storage places around the dock. If there werenít enough cars we had to carry the coal in baskets attached to a long pole which really dug into our shoulders. Thatís why I always tried to get a coal car. It was tough, back- breaking work. But, it beat carrying that damn pole on my shoulders.

Our work day usually started at 5:00 a.m. It would be dark and was always cold and damp. Our breakfast consisted usually of a potato and some greens. Once in awhile we would get a seaweed concoction that actually wasnít too bad. And, they sometimes gave us grasshoppers cooked in soy sauce. Later, when I visited Mexico, I found they sold them in the mercados as delicacies. We ate them because we were starving but they never tasted that great to me. For lunch we would get a cold potato or soup made from radishes and, rarely, a piece of fish.


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(Last Updated: January 15, 2004.)

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"Later, I was to find out that it was considered the worst POW camp in all of Japan."

A Mitsubishi- Eclipse of Ethics presentation.