SYDNEY (Kyodo) Three Australians who were forced to work in a coal mine owned by the family of Prime Minister Taro Aso when they were Allied prisoners of war are seeking an apology and compensation from the leader, local media reported Friday.

The trio signed a joint letter to Aso in February, requesting an apology for inhumane treatment and for neglecting to tell the historical truth of their experience for so long, The Australian newspaper reported.

The men also asked for “monetary compensation in line with global norms for redressing historical injustices,” the daily said.

“Taking these three steps will be the honorable road for you, your family’s company and Japan,” the trio wrote.

John “Jack” Hall, Joe Coombs and Arthur Gigger penned the letter soon after Aso admitted in January that Allied POWs had been used in his family’s Yoshikuma coal mine in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Documents from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry revealed that 300 foreign workers were used for slave labor at the coal mine between May and August 1945.

The men recalled being forced to work in mine shafts that routinely caved in, and also told of the beatings they faced for failing to meet their output quota.

According to the ministry, the Allied prisoners included 197 Australians, 101 Britons and two Dutch.

The Australian veterans say they do not expect to receive either an apology or monetary compensation from Aso.

“We’re pissing in the wind,” Hall said. “I know (them), you see. We won’t get a thing.”

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