About 350,000 prisoners of war were captured by Japanese during World War II. White prisoners mostly came from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, and Britain. It was reported that the death rate was 27%. Meanwhile the rate was only 4% for German prisoners of at camp or Italian camps. It is said that it was the biggest horror in history especially during World War II.
Here are other truths about Japanese prisoners of wars camps:
- Many prisoners of war died in Japanese captivity due to various reasons such as fire bomb, or died in their transfer to Japan. It was also common for prisoners to die due to malnutrition and starvation. Not to mention that the prisoners were forced to work under slave-like condition in various places such as mines, factories, etc.
- Japanese mistreated prisoners of wars poorly because they believed that the prisoners were dishonorable and deserved the treatments. One of the worst condition was suffered by prisoners who were transferred to build the construction of the Siam-Burma railroad. Prisoners worked 12 to 16 hours a day with limited food. Some of them died during their labor due to exhaustion, abuse, malnutrition, and diseases such as cholera and ulcer.
- Allied prisoners attempted to minimize the spread of the disease during their time in Japanese camp. They constructed spotless kitchen and latrines. They used bamboo pipes to bring in water that was free from cholera from spring miles away from the camp. All of them also burned the dead in funeral pyres in order to not contaminate the living. They did those efforts during their break they were supposed to use for sleeping after 16 hours working in slave-labor. However, most of their efforts were futile.
- The brutality of Japanese to the Allied prisoners was very well known. There were gruesome tortures received by the prisoners. Some of them were even used for medical experiments as well as target practice. It was reported that around 50,000 allied prisoners died during their time in Japanese camp. The most common reason was brutal treatment. Execution was also common in Japanese camp. One of the most known was the execution of the Allied Intelligence officer in New Guinea. It happened on March 29, 1943. The prisoner was killed using a Japanese sword. It was a gruesome public execution in Japanese camp where other prisoners couldn’t help but watched.