Unjust Enrichment Hardcover – Jan 1 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
In September 1999, some 500 American WWII veterans filed suit against five Japanese corporations (including Mitsubishi and Kawasaki), seeking reparation for having been used as slave laborers during the war. According to the plaintiffs, these corporations built their postwar success on a foundation of American forced labor. The companies say they have been wrongly targeted, because the modern conglomerates have no relation to the wartime entities accused of these practices, prohibited now as then under the rules of the Geneva Convention. Holmes (4,000 Bowls of Rice), a respected historian and researcher who is part of a presidential panel working to declassify the records of Nazi war crimes, weighs in heavily on the side of the former American POWs. Using recently declassified documents, Holmes bolsters the vets' claims. (One formerly top secret Japanese cable read, "Due to a serious shortage of labor power in Japan, the use of the white POW is earnestly desired.") But the most emotionally charged evidence comes from the former POWs themselves. In interview after interview, Holmes chronicles the abuse of American captives, whose lingering medical and emotional problems are compounded by the belief that their suffering has been minimized by a postwar culture more moved by the plight of other groups of war victims. (Feb. 19) Forecast: A front-page New York Times article on October 2, 2000, broke news of the case on a national level. This book provides a foundation for further media coverage, and should be widely cited. Meanwhile, buffs and vets will find out about the book via newsgroups and the like.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The opening battles of World War II brought the Japanese a significant number of American prisoners of war, a prize composed of some 26,000 captured military and 14,000 interned civilians. For the most part, these prisoners were treated badly, and a disproportionate number died or suffered lifelong disabilities. This is scarcely news. Holmes claims to bring to the table newly released information about the roles of the zaibatsus, the great industrial combines, in the use of forced labor. She also has located information relating to the State Department decision not to prosecute the companies or their leaders after the war, although numerous camp commandants and guards were treated as war criminals. In contrast to recent payments by various European corporations, notes Holmes, no compensation has been paid by Japanese companies. She asserts but does not convincingly prove that many successful Japanese companies, such as Mitsubishi, succeeded in the postwar era because of the unreasonable profits they reaped by using slave labor, a large part of which was American. Given the scale of the war, the immense destruction on the home islands, and the generally low productivity of forced labor, it is difficult to see this one factor as paramount in the rebuilding of Japanese industrial strength. Libraries collecting deeply in Japanese-American relations and World War II history may be interested. Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
In a time of war, unjust and unfair things happens. Its the dirty, dishonorable and unglorious part of any war. These POWs were warriors who took their chances and paid the penalty for their country. They were also unfortunate that the Pacific War was a race war where both sides reduces each other to sub-human levels. Racial hatred is the lowest mean of human emotion and outlook. Are we surprised that they were treated like sub-humans?
Our nation also did many things during that war which we were not so proud. We fire bombed cities and people like barbeue. This meant schools, hospitals and civilian homes were cooked up like Sunday picnic (with women and children, of course). But this too, is part of war and it will always be that way.
If we fought a honorable war and they did not, then there is just cause. But if both sides fought dirty, using POWs as slaves was one way to the means for the Japanese trying to win that war.
Only way the author and her cause can win - will be by changing or rebuking the peace treaty with Japan - who just happened to be our most strongest ally and trading partner in the Pacific. This is a nice way to win trust and maintain friendship. Americans seem to forget that they have a nasty history of breaking or foregoing treaties with non-white people as the American Indians can understand. Are treaty with the Japanese just as expendable??
Author also point out with certain racist overtone that American government was justified in rounding up American citizens of Japanese descent because the Japanese army rounded out American citizens in their areas of conquest.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Steven Bustin, Author: Humble Heroes, How The USS Nashville CL43 Fought WWII Humble Heroes: How the USS Nashville Fought WWII
This fall will be 60th anniversary of San Francisco Peace Treaty and our WWII Greatest Generation is fading at a rate 1500 a day. Linda did a good job in pointing out the faults of this Peace Treaty. We owe our peace and freedom to them for their sacrifice. We need to carry the torch for humanity and justice to demand from Japan government for the apology and dignity of the team of GI Joe.
Linda did a good job in supporting our veterans with a good documentary in history.