Orlando, Florida, August 10-13, 2013 passed Resolution 183 (text below). It provides a mandate to its leadership and members to assist the American POWs of Japan in their efforts for acknowledgement and remembrance. The DAV's mission is to ensure that all veterans can live their lives with respect and dignity.
Nearly all former POWs of Japan are DAV members. They suffered the highest suicide and PTSD rates of all WWII veterans. These former POWs also have the most enduring PTSD effects, which tend to reappear with intensity during the retirement years.
The DAV's new "marching orders" provide a powerful "battalion" to the campaign to ensure that POW experience in the Pacific is remembered. Japanese government and industry is asked to join together to establish a permanent fund for remembrance, research, documentation, exchange, and, most important, to educate the next generation on the lessons of war, peace, and reconciliation.
WHEREAS, on May 30, 2009, the Government of Japan through its Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki offered an official apology to American POWs for their abuse, misuse, pain, and suffering caused by Imperial Japan; and
WHEREAS, in September 2010, the Government of Japan reinforced its apology by initiating a visitation program for former POWs to visit Japan, to return to the sites of their imprisonment, and to receive the apology directly from senior Japanese government officials; and
WHEREAS, the United States owes much to these soldiers, sailors, Marines, and air men, the majority of whom fought in the early heroic battles of World War II in the Philippines, on Wake Island, Guam, Java, and in the Sunda Strait; and
WHEREAS, the American POWs of Imperial Japan were forced into slave labor throughout the Japanese Empire in the most unjust, brutal, and inhumane conditions; NOW
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that DAV in National Convention assembled in Orlando, Florida, August 10-13, 2013, supports and commends the efforts of the American POWs of Japan to reclaim their dignity and attain full justice from the Government of Japan and those Japanese private companies that enslaved them; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED DAV insists the Government of Japan provide and publicize an official transcript in English and Japanese of the Government’s 2009 apology to the American POWs; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED DAV insists Congress and the Administration work with all parties involved to ensure the continuation of the POW visitation program to Japan, that it be expanded to include family members and descendants, and funds be provided for a dedicated program of research, documentation, exchange, and education; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED DAV works with all parties involved in persuading the private Japanese companies that benefited from POW slave labor during WWII, especially those companies now doing business in the United States, to follow the Japanese government’s lead in acknowledging their use and abuse of American POW labor and join with the Japanese government to create a fund for remembrance, research, documentation, exchange, and education on the POW experience in the Pacific and its lessons for war and peace.