Usui, Fukuoka #26 - Japan
Fukuoka 26-B Keisen, Usui
Keisen Yoshikuma Coal Mine Branch Camp (Fukuoka 26-B)
Established as Fukuoka No.26 Branch Camp at Yoshikuma Coal Mine in Keisen-cho, Kaho-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture on May 10, 1945. Camp was on a rise surrounded by a 10 ft fence. Six barracks, slate rooks, each with five 12 mat rooms with hallway running length of each building (sliding door access).
The POWs were used by Aso Mining Company. Owned by the ASO family
300 POWs (197 Australian, 101 British and 2 Dutch) were imprisoned at the end of the war.
2 POWs died while imprisonment.
POWS arrived at the Usui railroad station, just south of the camp.
POWS were used in coal mining in a formerly closed and dangerous mine. This mine system was- and still is – owned by the ASO family. The son, Taro Aso, was [in 2009] the Prime Minister of Japan. The Aso family continues to deny it used any slave labor during the war. In early January 2009, Prime Minister Aso admitted the mine used prisoners but denied any responsibility for any abuse or deaths.
News Story: From the Japan Times – proof of slave labor being used at Aso Mines. In post war report, Aso mines denied responsibility for the two deaths even though they happened over two months after arrival. Both died from effects of severe malnutrition.
View of Fukuoka Camp 26
Group of Australians after VJ Day