The Japanese government has apologized to former Canadian prisoners of war who it tortured and starved in work camps during World War II. About 1600 Canadian soldiers were captured by the Japanese in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941, after weeks of battle. More than 250 of them died in captivity over the next three and half years. Hundreds of others were left ill or permanently disabled. Japanese POW camps were considered particularly savage during the war. Survival rates for captured soldiers hovered between 50 and 60 per cent, compared to over 90 per cent for those captured by the Germans.