LOGO MARK MIZUMAKI-TOWN WEB SITE
JAPANESE ABOUT MIZUMAKI FACILITIES CULTURE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES  


THE MEMORIAL CROSS

VISITS BY MEMORIAL GROUPS

INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES

THE MEMORIAL CROSSimage

World War II began in 1939, and Japan entered the war in December 1941. At that time, a large coal mine, the "Japan Coal Mining Company, Onga Coal Mine" was located in Mizumaki Town. A military prisoner-of-war camp, the Fukuoka Number Six, Orio Prison Camp, was located near the mine, where more than 1,000 allied prisoners of war were interred. Because of a labor shortage at the coal mine, the Japanese military began using the allied POWs captured in Southeast Asia as forced laborers in the mine, particularly Dutch, American and British POWs. The POWs worked under extremely harsh conditions, and 140 of them died from sickness, malnutrition or accidents."The Memorial Cross" that stands in Mizumaki is a memorial built for the allied POWs who died during the war. It helps us preserve the memory of the tragic history of the war. At present, the names of 871 Dutch POWs who died throughout Japan during the war are engraved on the Memorial Cross. The Memorial Cross is an important reminder that we must never repeat such a war. It is also now a symbol of peace and the desire for friendship with all countries in the world.

VISITS BY MEMORIAL GROUPS
image

The Memorial Cross became the starting point of various exchanges with the country of the Netherlands. Mr. Dolf Winkler of the Netherlands, who had been a POW working at the coal mine in Mizumaki, began the exchanges by organizing Dutch memorial groups which visit Mizumaki each year. Writer Eidai Hayashi and Hiroshi Kurokawa, the chairman of the Committee to Promote Peace and Culture, have also helped build the exchanges.
The elementary and junior high schools of Mizumaki also welcome the Dutch memorial groups and host exchange programs with them. The students participate in programs that emphasize peace education and introduce the cultures of Japan and the Netherlands to each other.
We will continue to build up our relationship of trust and friendship through these exchanges.




Copyright © 2002-  Mizumaki Town