Japan 'soldiers' found in jungle

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Jeff O
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Japan 'soldiers' found in jungle

Post by Jeff O » 27 May 2005 05:41

Wow! Talk about loyalty if this is true! How could they not know the war was over?? What a shock it will be for them to see what's happened over the last 60 years.

Japan 'soldiers' found in jungle
Japanese officials in the Philippines are interviewing two men who claim to be Japanese soldiers living in the jungle since the end of World War II.
The pair, now in their 80s, were found on the southern island of Mindanao.

They reportedly said they wanted to return to Japan, but were afraid of facing a court martial.

In 1974, a Japanese soldier, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, was found in the Philippines jungle, unaware that the war had ended 29 years previously.

'Incredible if true'

The two men on Mindanao had contacted a Japanese national who was collecting the remains of war dead on Mindanao, according to government sources.

They had equipment which suggested they were former soldiers.

"It is an incredible story if it is true," Japan's consul general in Manila, Akio Egawa, told the AFP news agency.

"They were found, I believe, in the mountains near General Santos on Mindanao Island. "At this stage we are not saying either way whether or not these two men are in fact former soldiers. We may be in a better position later today," he said.

Brutal occupation

Mindanao has seen more than two decades of Muslim rebellion and many areas are out of central government control.

Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbour and set up a brutal puppet government.

In the closing months of the war, there was heavy fighting with US troops in the mountainous, heavily forested islands.

The Sankei Shimbun daily said the men would most likely be members of the Panther division, 80% of whom were killed or went missing during the final months of the war.

It speculated there could be as many as 40 Japanese soldiers living in similar conditions in the Philippines.

When Lt Onoda was found on the Philippines island of Lubang in 1974, he initially refused to surrender.

Only when his former commanding officer was flown over from Japan did he agree to leave the jungle.

He later emigrated to Brazil.



Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/a ... 585287.stm

Published: 2005/05/27 03:29:13 GMT

© BBC MMV

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 27 May 2005 06:04

Something about this was posted in WW2 Pacific & Asia section already but its OK here as well.

This last Philippines finding in 1997 was a hoax though:

http://www.wanpela.com/holdouts/registry.html

January 1997 - 85 Year old Sangrayban discovered on Mindoro
"WAR IS OVER An 85-year-old Japanese soldier has been found on the Philippine island of Mindoro. Going under the name of Sangrayban, he had been living among the Mangyan tribe for 54 years. He had a wife from the tribe who had given him four children and he was in very good health, according to Rufino Baldo, a member of a team searching for such Japanese stragglers. On Mindoro, Sangrayban was one of a group of soldiers who landed on the island in 1943 with orders "not to surrender under any circumstances". He thought that American leaflets dropped over the island in 1945 declaring that the war was over were a propaganda trick. After his companions died, he went native, living among the Mangyan tribe for 54 years. He married a Mangyan women and had four children. He has blocked out all his memories of pre-WWII Japan, but he still speaks an old fashioned form of Japanese. When discovered, he was in "very good health". He does not want to leave his sick wife and is unlikely to return to Japan."

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Anzac
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Post by Anzac » 27 May 2005 09:02

Also this bit of news from my ISP homepage, under the news section.

Japanese WWII 'soldiers' found in Philippines
3:47 PM May 27

Japanese officials are checking the identity of two elderly men in the southern Philippines, after reports they could be the first Japanese soldiers left over from World War II to be found in 30 years.

The Philippines, invaded by Japan in 1941, was the scene of heavy fighting at the end of the war as Japanese soldiers with fierce loyalty to the emperor fought allied troops across the sprawling country, which has thousands of remote islands.

Japanese media has reported that the two men have been living in guerrilla-controlled mountains near General Santos City on the island of Mindanao and had contacted a Japanese person who was in the area searching for the remains of World War II soldiers.

It is not known if they knew of Japan's surrender in August 1945 to Allied forces.

"Two officials from the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines will meet them today and try to confirm their identities," government spokesman Hiroyuki Hosoda said.

Japanese embassy press attache Shuhei Ogawa told reporters the name of one of the men was reported to be Yoshio Yamakawa from the western city of Osaka. He said the other man had the surname Nakauchi.

Both men were reported to be 86-years-old, he said.

"It is an incredible story if it is true," Japan's consul general in Manila Akio Egawa said.

"At this stage we are not saying either way whether or not these two men are in fact former soldiers. We may be in a better position later today."

The Sankei Shimbun newspaper, quoting an unidentified source, said there were around 40 former Japanese soldiers living on Mindanao, all of them hoping to return home.

The paper said the two men were afraid of facing a court martial back home for deserting the frontlines, an option that would be unlikely as the Japanese imperial army is defunct.

It said it was highly likely that they belonged to a group known as the "panther division", about 80 per cent of whose members died or went missing while battling US forces.

The last known Japanese straggler from the war was found in 1975 in Indonesia.

In 1974, former Japanese army intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda was found living in the jungle on the Philippine island of Lubang.

He was unaware of Japan's defeat in 1945.

Another former Japanese soldier, Shoichi Yokoi, was found on Guam in 1972. He returned home and died in 1997.

Japan attacked the Philippines, then a US colony, hours after its 1941 air raid on Pearl Harbour and formed a puppet government of Filipino oligarchs.

The occupation was brutal, with estimates of about one million Filipino deaths
.


What was the panther division?...anybody got any pics of this division?
#RP#

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Post by Larry D. » 27 May 2005 13:31

Only two divisions on Mindanao at the end of the war: 30th in northern Mindanao and 100th in southern Mindanao. The town of General Santos is mentioned several times in the articles and that is located on the southern end of the island where the 100th Division was stituated.

--Larry

P.S. The day after I posted the above the morning newspaper said these two fellows had belonged to the 30th Infantry Division. They must have moved to the General Santos area in southern Mindanao after the war ended.
Last edited by Larry D. on 29 May 2005 00:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Anzac
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Post by Anzac » 28 May 2005 03:21

this also raises that question that perhaps there may be Japanese soldiers hiding in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, anybody have any information on this?
#RP#

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Post by Zebedee » 04 Jun 2005 01:50

The Times (of London) today published in one of its tiny columns that this story was a hoax.

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Post by Larry D. » 04 Jun 2005 12:34

Zebedee -

I wonder if the The Times of London got that right? There was extensive coverage of the story here including video footage of one of the two in uniform during the war, riding a horse, etc., and of the memorial stone near General Santos where they were scheduled to meet with Japanese representatives. But since then there has been silence......Hmmm.......

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Post by Zebedee » 04 Jun 2005 13:31

The BBC have been reporting that Japan has been scaling back the search

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-p ... 592995.stm

The Times story is as follows (p.44, The Times, Thursday 2nd June)

Jungle Survivors story was hoax

Tokyo. The Japanese businessman who reported the existence of two soldiers of the Imperial Army surviving on Mindanao island, in the Philippines 60 years after the end of the Second World War said that the story was a hoax.

Diplomats and journalists descended on General Santos hoping to meet the two men. The unnamed middleman said that he had met the "survivors" and they were not Japanese.

edit: The third soldier has also been dismissed as a fake according to The Independant. (sorry - I can't seem to cut and paste anything atm. Google search will throw up the results though).


But as you say, Larry, the story could be wrong.

Zeb

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Post by Larry D. » 04 Jun 2005 14:40

Zebedee -

The BBC story is essentially the last we had here, too.

Japan is scaling back its search for two men in the Philippines who are rumoured to be former Japanese soldiers left behind after World War II.


It now sounds like The Times story must be true, since the Japanese government is accusing the mediator of being "unreliable." They don't label people like that unless they are absolutely sure they have their facts right.

Thanks for the post. :)

--Larry

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Re: Japan 'soldiers' found in jungle

Post by Larso » 25 May 2009 10:55

I've mentioned this before on another thread but a soldier from my regt who did some peace keeping on Bouganville reported that villagers said the last of the Japanese on that island had only stopped coming down from the mountains to steal food in the last few years. If it's all true a couple of survivors there at least made it into the 1990s.

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