Lester Tenney, a former U.S. soldier who was held as a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II, on Thursday demanded that Mitsui & Co. and its affiliates issue an apology and compensation for forcing him to work like a “slave.” “Me and my colleagues went through hell,” Tenney, 79, a retired professor at Arizona State University, told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. “Mitsui should be held responsible for making us feel like dogs, or worse than dogs.” Tenney was forced to work 12 hours a day without adequate food in a coal mine in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, after he was captured in April 1942. He said he was treated cruelly by the mine bosses and received severe injuries, including a broken nose and teeth. Tenney filed a lawsuit with a U.S. court in August seeking an apology and compensation from Mitsui and three other companies in the Mitsui conglomerate. He will attend the International Civilian Forum on War Crimes and Redress, a three-day forum that starts today in Tokyo, and speak about his wartime experiences.
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