Okada met with six former POWs and their relatives who were in Tokyo Monday at the invitation of the Japanese government.
Okada asked them accept what he called his country’s “heartfelt” apology.
One of the Americans, 90 year-old Lester Tenney, said he welcomes the government’s apology.
But Tenney said he still wants recognition of his suffering from Japanese companies that he said used them for slave labor in mines and factories.
They include Mitsui Mining, Mitsubishi electronics, and Kawasaki motors.
Tenney says those companies have been silent for 65 years.
Tenney was among 78,000 American and Philippine prisoners of war forced on what has become known as the Bataan Death March — a nearly 100-kilometer march on Luzon in 1942 from the Bataan peninsula to a prison camp.
About 11,000 prisoners died during the march during which Japanese soldiers brutally beat the Americans and Philippine prisoners, starved them, gave them no water, and denied them medical treatment.
Some information in this story was provided by AP.