Invitation to Japan to Former Australian Prisoners of War to Japan (Courtesy Call on Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Seiji Maehara)

March 3, 2011

Invitation to Japan to Former Australian Prisoners of War to Japan(Photo)
Invitation to Japan to Former Australian Prisoners of War to Japan(Photo)

Today (Thursday, March 3), five former prisoners of war, their family members and others (a total of 10 people), who are visiting Japan from Australia on the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (From March 1 to 9), paid a courtesy call on Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

  1. Minister Maehara said to the Australian delegation that he hopes this visit will help their reconciliation with Japan and contribute to friendship between the two countries. Minister Maehara reiterated Japan’s feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for the tremendous damage and suffering inflicted on many people during the war, including former Australian prisoners of war. Minister Maehara presented each of the five former prisoners with copies of “individual records” used as identification cards and other relevant documents during their time in captivity. Minister Maehara noted that preparations would be started to hand over to the Australian side copies of all records kept in Japan since the end of the war, including “individual records” of Australian prisoners of war.

  2. Dr. Charles Richards expressed deep appreciation on behalf of the Australian delegation, noting that the invitation represents a concrete way to express the feelings of apology of the Government of Japan. He stated that the delegation appreciated the return of the individual records, noting their significance not only for the former prisoners of war themselves but also their family members. Finally, he also said that the visit would contribute to the enhancement of friendly relationship between Japan and Australia.

  3. Opinions were exchanged in a cordial atmosphere, during which the Australian delegation presented Minister Maehara with a book based on Dr. Richards’ experience as a prisoner in Japan and souvenirs from Australia.
    • (*This is a provisional translation. The above date denotes the date of the issue of the original press release in Japanese.)

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