Former American POWs visit Japan, recall horrors of war, marvel at progress since then

Former American prisoners of war held in Japan during World War II are touring places they were held nearly 70 years ago, and recounting their memories.

Three of the men, all in their 90s, visited the Heiwajima Kannon, a statue of the Goddess of Mercy, on Thursday at the site of the Omori prison camp.

The 96-year-old Bill Sanchez, of Monterey Park, California, helped build the island of reclaimed land along Tokyo Bay, and watched B-29 bombers as they incinerated Tokyo in the closing days of the war.

Sanchez also worked at nearby docks, one of the better jobs for POWs because it was possible to pinch food.

He and the others said they were lucky to have survived the camps and the "hell ships" that carried them to Japan.