were forced laborers during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II. The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java, between four and 10 million romusha were forced to work by the Japanese military. About 270,000 of these Javanese laborers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in South East Asia. Only 52,000 were repatriated to Java, meaning that there was a death rate of 80%.
Japanese military made very extensive use of such forced labor
during the construction of the Burma-Thailand Railway during 1942-43.
The death rate among
romusha, from atrocities, starvation-diet and disease,
significantly outstripped the death rate among Allied prisoners of
war. About half the forced laborers engaged on the railroad
- Library of Congress, 1992, "Indonesia: World War II
and the Struggle For Independence, 1942-50; The Japanese
Occupation, 1942-45" Access date: February 9, 2007.