May 18th 2017






    For starters, The Times of India reported on August 11, 2014 that on April 2,1946 the Reuters correspondent in Melbourne, Australia cabled a short message that was carried by almost all newspapers a day later including the Times of India. The message read “ The Japanese Lieutenant Hisata Tomiyasu found guilty of the murder of 14 Indian soldiers and of cannibalism at Wewak (New Guinea) in 1944 has been sentenced to death by hanging, it is learned from Rabaul.


    It is well known that their Japanese captors treated more than 10,000 Indian prisoners of war in the most inhuman way. There was no distinction between Indian officers and men. Often parties of haggard men would be taken away from the prison camps to the shooting range where they would be used as live targets for new Japanese infantry recruits to improve their shooting. Soldiers not killed in the firing would be bayoneted to death.


    Japan had for long years evaded charges that its leading corporations enforced Nazi style labor during the Second World War. Mitsubishi with the famous triple diamond logo had long denied liability for thousands of Chinese serf labor in its coalmines. Mitsubishi in fact had argued that Japan had never invaded China. Japan captured Nanking in 1937 and in less than 6 weeks managed to slaughter more than 300,000 Chinese, one of the worst atrocities in history.




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    Mitsubishi owned, built and operated 17 “hell-ships” that carried prisoners of war to Japan and other countries where they were compelled to work in appalling conditions. Many survivors including Indian and American documented the deplorable conditions.


    Finally on July 19, 2015, Mitsubishi showed some remorse in a ceremony in Los Angeles. Mr. James Murphy who accepted the apology was one of 30,000 Allied prisoners in wartime Japan. About one in ten of them died. Of all the prisoners by 2015 Mr. Murphy was the only prisoner left alive and fit enough to accept the Mitsubishi apology.


    Mr. Murphy according to the BBC described his period as prisoner of war as “ a complete horror.” “It was slavery in every way: no food, no medicine, no clothing, no sanitation,” spoke Mr. Murphy. The Japanese government officially apologized to American former POW’s 5 years ago.


    Mitsubishi Materials Corp concluded a settlement agreement with former Chinese slave workers for the company’s used of forced labor during World War II. It agreed to pay finally in 2016 $15,190 in compensation to each Chinese victim. Mitsubishi Mining conceded that it used 3,765 Chinese prisoners as forced laborers during the war, of which 722 died due to maltreatment.


    We need to fast forward to yesterday. There was breakdown for some inexplicable reason of the only lift in my hospital. Mitsubishi supplied the elevator. A middle-aged lady was admitted with a 3 day old heart attack was admitted in the evening. She had come over for a percutaneous intervention from a teaching government hospital. Any hospital in Delhi NCR would be kept on its toes by frequent emergency admissions that need to be transferred to various floors. It is quite possible for a cardiac arrest victim to be salvaged on a floor and subsequently shifted to the intensive care unit on a separate floor. The lifts in any hospital are vital for its fundamental functioning.


    I therefore called up customer service of Mitsubishi, and after the bell rang for an eternity a gentleman picked up my call. He informed me after keeping me on hold for a long long time that he was helpless but I could contact a Mr. Punkaj. Mr. Punkaj when contacted and informed it was a matter of life and death told me I should ring up Mr. Yadav. I promptly called up Mr. Yadav and began by pleading with him that he helps the hospital in repairing the lift in the shortest period of time. This gentleman despite my repeated requests and pleading refused point blank to cooperate. He insisted that old dues had to be paid up first. I told him to give me a figure so that I could transfer the money on line. I also informed him that I had taken over the administration of the hospital barely 3 weeks ago and was therefore unaware of his company’s old dues. I actually begged him for help (“main bheek maang raha hoon aapse”) but the man did not budge. He refused to intervene outright. The lift has not worked all night. The patient was shifted to the ICU on a stretcher.


    So there it is dear readers. A legacy of horrific torture of Mitsubishi lingers on in the shape of remarkable insensitivity and callousness.