A Mount Pearl man who spent three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II said a recent apology doesn't make up for the punishment he suffered.
On Monday, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada apologized to prisoner of war camp survivors and described their treatment as "inhumane."
While many of the people who worked in Japanese labour camps have wanted an apology for decades, it didn't move Jack Ford.
"Apologies don't mean a thing to me," Ford said Monday. "They refused to give us any money for the labour we performed in Japan. Canada did pay the Japanese that were interned in Canada, but Japan never came forward with any money of any kind."
After Ford — who is now in his 90's — was captured, he was forced to work at a PoW camp in Nagasaki until the war ended.
"It was the worst, the worst, the lowest you can get," Ford said. "You never knew if you were going to survive or not and it came to the point that sometimes you didn't care whether you did or didn't because you were so low down, you didn't care if you lived or died."
A group of former PoW's travelled to Tokyo to accept the apology, and is now seeking a similar apology from Japan's private sector for using PoWs as forced labourers.
Ford said that at his age more apologies — or even money — won't make much difference to him. Rather he'd like to see Japan promise to remain peaceful, and democratic.
Ford was released when Japan's militaristic constitutional monarchy surrendered in 1945 after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ford was in Nagasaki when the bomb's mushroom cloud grew above the city.
"The city was flattened. It was just flattened," said Ford in an Aug. 5, 1985 CBC News story. "I don't think a building was standing for a mile or a mile and a half from where we were standing. We thought it was the end of the world."