Monthly Archives: May 2005

GooglePrint and Extract Quote Policy

The New York Times of 25 May 2005 carried a story expressing the concerns of certain publishers about Googleprint’s plans to index and excerpt from works under copyright.

How long is a snippet? That is one of more than a dozen questions directed at Google Inc. this week by the executive director of the Association of American University Presses, the trade group representing university presses. At issue is whether Google Print for Libraries, the company’s plan to digitize the collections of some of the country’s major university libraries, infringes the copyrights of the authors of many books in those collections. The program will allow users to search the contents of books, displaying context-specific “snippets” of the texts of copyrighted works.

Well, similar questions apply to Far Outliers, now Kotaji, and other blogs that frequently publish excerpts from printed sources. So it seems appropriate to issue a statement about the policies of this blog with regard to excerpting from printed sources under copyright.

1. Far Outliers is strictly a noncommercial enterprise. I accept neither cash donations nor paid advertising. I earn no revenue and incur no cash expenses, other than the not inconsiderable cost of buying printed books. I buy and read a lot of books, many–if not most–of them from university presses.

2. I try to extract and post stand-alone vignettes that capture passing insights of larger works, many of which have to do with the stated theme of this blog. In other cases, I try to quote passages that add a degree of arms-length historical or extraregional perspective to current debates in the blogosphere.

3. I try to limit my excerpts to the equivalent of about 1 printed page per chapter. If too much of one chapter proves irresistible, I force myself to skip other chapters. I also try to quote much less from brand new titles than from older works.

4. For each extract quote, I provide a full bibliographical citation and include a link to either the publisher’s website (especially in the case of university presses) or to an online bookseller that carries the book. If the author has an informative website, I’ll often link to that, too. Most larger commercial presses do not sell from their own websites, but university presses often do because they publish such a large number of titles with such meager marketing budgets that they have a much harder time promoting their obscure and offbeat titles, which are often the ones that tend to capture my fancy. In short, I encourage my blog readers to purchase the books I find quotable.

5. If any publishers feel I have overstepped the bounds of fair use, they have only to email me and I will forthwith remove all citations of their works. But I would hope that most publishers recognize some promotional value in my citations from their works.

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The Guardian’s Bolshevist Scoop, November 1917

Few correspondents witnessed [the] momentous events [of the Bolshevik Revolution], and even fewer understood enough of what was happening to appreciate their significance. High among these few stand the American journalist and poet John Reed, correspondent for The Masses, a radical liberal publication in the United States, who had been in Petrograd since August, and Morgan Philips Price, the Manchester Guardian’s correspondent. Reed later became a founder of the Communist Party of America, and his sympathies from the beginning were with the Bolsheviks. But he saw the Revolution with the clear eye of a good and conscientious reporter, and his description of the events in Petrograd in November 1917 is unequalled. Reed, Philips Price, and Arthur Ransome of the London Daily News were the only Western correspondents allowed into the Bolshevik headquarters in the Smolny Institute* ….

The Bolshevik Revolution might have taken newspapers by surprise, but they recovered quickly. Since they lacked the knowledge that Reed, Philips Price, and Ransome had acquired, they were able to state categorically that the Bolsheviks would not survive. This–and abuse of the Bolshevik leaders–was the theme of all the dispatches and comment in the days following the Revolution. David Soskice, the man the Manchester Guardian had sent to check on Philips Price’s accuracy, had fled from the Winter Palace across the frontier to Finland. The Guardian ran his dispatches, even though they directly contradicted those from his colleague. “The Bolsheviks must fall,” Soskice wrote from Oslo on November 24. The Times as early as November 12 had Lenin losing control. The Observer was certain that Bolshevism would soon perish, and the Daily News felt that all Bolsheviks were doomed, thus ignoring the opinion of its man-on-the-spot, Arthur Ransome, one of the few voices of accuracy and reason in the hysteria, who wrote: “It is folly to deny the actual fact that the Bolsheviks do hold a majority of the politically-active population.”

The newspaper reader in the United States, like his counterpart in Britain, could have been forgiven for believing that it was only a matter of days before the Bolsheviks were overthrown. The insistent theme of Russian news in the New York Times was that the Bolsheviks could last for only a moment. In the next two years this belief was faithfully fostered. Four times Lenin and Trotsky were planning flight, three times they had already fled; twice Lenin was planning retirement, once he had been killed, and three times he was in prison.

One of the main reasons for the gross misinformation that these reports spread was a growing apprehension as to the nature of Bolshevism, which encouraged wishful thinking about its early demise. As details of Lenin’s new social order filtered through to the West, the first signs appeared of the strong anti-Bolshevik sentiment that was soon to become fanatical. It was bad enough for the landed gentry of Britain and France that the Bolsheviks had overthrown their betters in Russia; it was terrifying that they now spoke of spreading this appalling political dogma throughout Europe and perhaps the rest of the world. So when the delegates at the Soviet Congress spoke of “the coming world revolution, of which we are the advance-guard,” The Times responded with an editorial saying, “The remedy for Bolshevism is bullets,” and The Times’ readers began to regard the Bolsheviks as a gang of murderers, thieves, and blasphemers whom it was almost a sacred duty to destroy as vermin.

This was confirmed by the Russian release of all the secret treaties negotiated between the Czarist regime and the Allies. Philips Price scooped the world here by calling on Trotsky and asking if he could print the treaties in the Guardian. Trotsky could not see Philips Price, but sent his secretary [whom Ransome later married] out with a bundle of documents and a message that he could borrow them overnight. A quick look convinced Philips Price that he had the original treaties and that they were political dynamite. There was an agreement giving France a free hand in western Europe on condition that Russia had a similar free hand in Poland; there was a cynical bribe for Rumania, if she would enter the war, by the offer of the Banat with its Yugoslavs, the Bukovina with its Ukrainian population, and Transylvania with its Magyars; there was an agreement splitting Persia between Britain and Russia; and, finally, there was the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement, dividing much of the Arab world among the Allies.** Philips Price translated the documents, working through the night, and then telegraphed them in four or five dispatches to the Manchester Guardian, in which they were published in some detail at the end of November.

Compare the Guardian’s treatment of what was without doubt a major story with the attitude of The Times. The Times received a summary of the treaties from J. D. Bourchier, its Balkans man, who had stopped in Petrograd on his way to Japan. It published the summary, but made the amazing decision “not to inconvenience the British, French and Italian Governments, and to maintain silence about the Secret Treaties; also, as far as possible, to curtail its Petrograd correspondent’s despatches on the subject… As the governments themselves were bound by the Treaties to be silent, The Times decided it could only follow their example.”

SOURCE: The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-maker from the Crimea to Kosovo, by Phillip Knightley, with an introduction by John Pilger (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2000; first published in 1975), pp. 158-161

* Reed “joined a Soviet propaganda bureau” (p. 163); Philips Price worked “as a translator in the Bolshevist Foreign Office” (p. 167).

It is true, as Philips Price has readily admitted, that by now he was no longer completely objective and that Marxist jargon had crept into his writing. “It was a pity, but understandable. I was young and impressionable and it was natural that I should start to write as I heard Lenin and Trotsky speak. If I could have kept the old Manchester Guardian objectivity, then my dispatches would have had more influence.” [p. 168]

Ransome “returned to Britain in April 1918”; authored The Crisis in Russia, “a full defence of the Revolution” (and also wrote numerous children’s stories); “contributed extensively to the Manchester Guardian“; and “married Trotsky’s secretary, Eugenia Shelepin” (pp. 163, 183).

** “The release of the latter agreement caused Britain great embarrassment, since she had already promised the Arabs independence in return for raising the Arab Revolt. T. E. Lawrence had to try to explain to the Arabs why the British had double-crossed them.” (p. 161)

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Conscientious Objectors Who Earned Medals of Honor

At least two U.S. soldiers awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor have been conscientious objectors: Desmond T. Doss of Newport News, Virginia, during World War II; and Tom Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia, during the Vietnam War. Both served as combat medics.

World War II

Desmond T. Doss seemed an unlikely candidate to become a war hero. As a devout member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, he would not drill or train on Saturday because his church recognizes it as their Sabbath Day. He would not carry a gun because he believed all killing was wrong. He wouldn’t even eat meat after seeing a chicken flopping around with its head cut off….

Prior to the time World War II had broken out Doss had been working as a joiner at a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. This was considered an essential industry to the military so he had no worries of being drafted. He had begun dating Dorothy Schutte and they had fallen in love, but they decided that they should wait until after the war to get married. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he knew he would be drafted if he did not enlist, so that is exactly what he chose to do.

His minister went with him to establish his status as a non-combatant. The officer in charge told him there was no such thing, but that he could register as a conscientious objector. Doss said he wasn’t a conscientious objector because he would gladly serve his country, wear a uniform, salute the flag, and help with the war effort. He would gladly help tend sick or hurt people any day. Finally he was convinced to accept the 1-A-O Conscientious Objector classification, so he could join the army without fear of court martial….

On April 1, 1942 he was inducted into the U.S. Army and headed to Ft. Jackson in South Carolina for basic training…. 23-year-old Desmond Doss entered service as a medic for the 77th Infantry Division. From the beginning, the other men in his company made fun of Doss for his beliefs. Even though he worked long, hard hours to make up for not working on Saturday, the men cursed, ridiculed, and taunted him….

In July of 1944 on the island of Guam Doss began to prove his courage and compassion for the very men who had taunted, belittled, and even threatened him…. By now, his fellow soldiers were used to his reading the Bible and praying, so it didn’t seem unusual when, on that April 29th morning in 1945, he suggested that they might want to pray. They were facing a sheer 400-foot cliff that split the island of Okinawa known as the Maeda Escarpment….

However on May 5th the tide turned against the Americans as the Japanese launched a huge counterattack. Enemy fire raked Company B and almost immediately 75 men fell wounded. The remaining troops who were able to flee, retreated back down to the base of the escarpment. Left at the top of the cliff were the wounded, the Japanese, and Desmond T. Doss.

For the next five hours, while his wounded comrades fought back their attackers, Doss began to lower man after man to safety down the face of the cliff using little more than a tree stump and a rope. Doss said that he just kept praying that the Lord would let him rescue one more man. No one knows for sure how many men Doss lowered to safety that day. The Army determined that this medic, whom no one had wanted in the Army, had personally saved 100 lives….

On October 12, 1945, Desmond Doss was invited to the White House to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for his brave service on May 5, 1945 – the first noncombatant to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He would spend a total of six years in hospitals as a consequence of his wounds and a bout with tuberculosis…. Incidentally, May 5, 1945 was a Saturday, Doss’ Sabbath day.

Vietnam

The Vietnam War presented many young men with a moral dilemma as they became subject to the draft in the late 1960s. These were men whose deep-seated religious convictions held that killing was wrong, even in war. At the same time, a number of them also possessed a strong sense of patriotism and felt that service to one’s country was a vital duty. One youngster torn by those conflicting values was Thomas W. Bennett of Morgantown, West Virginia.

By Christmas 1967, Bennett was on academic probation at West Virginia University because of poor grades. He didn’t lack the mental acumen to do college-level work. Bennett earned high grades whenever he applied himself — but he applied himself more vigorously to extracurricular campus activities than to his classes…. His main focus was the Campus Ecumenical Council he’d helped found in his freshman year.

Tom Bennett saw himself as a moderator. Though raised as a Southern Baptist, he openly embraced the validity of all religions — hence his activities in the ecumenical council. He wanted devotees of different religions to share their similarities rather than face off over their differences. To learn more about different religions, he began attending services of different faiths, visiting some churches so often that parishioners thought he was one of them. Through these experiences his belief in the sanctity of human life solidified — a frequent theme when he preached at his own church….

But Bennett was torn by other allegiances. His stepfather, Kermit Gray, a World War II Navy veteran, had raised him to believe in patriotism and to be ready to fight for his country if necessary. By late 1967 a number of young Bennett’s friends had already entered the service…. Bennett reported for induction on July 11, 1968. Under the Army’s program, he and the other conscientious objectors would take their weaponless basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, then attend the field medical school there. It was a perfect compromise for Bennett, the moderator….

On January 12 he learned he was going to the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands. Ten days later he joined Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, at FSB Charmayne, deep in the thick jungles of the Central Highlands….

On April 7, 1970, Tom Bennett’s 23rd birthday, President Richard M. Nixon presented his posthumous Medal of Honor to his mother and stepfather. When first notified of the award, Bennett’s mother had considered refusing it, her way of protesting the war and the senseless loss of her son. But then her husband spoke up, “No. It was the boys in his outfit that put him in for it. They wanted him to have it.”

Thus Thomas W. Bennett became the only conscientious objector to earn the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, and only the second in history to be so recognized. The first was Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist who was cited for his heroism on Okinawa in World War II.

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New Bombings in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Macam-Macam comments on a new round of bombings in the largely Christian town of Tentana on Lake Poso in Central Sulawesi Province, Indonesia.

Indonesia’s aspirations to political stability received a body blow as two bombs ripped through a busy Saturday morning market in the town of Tentana, central Sulawesi, killing at least 19 people and wounding many others. This part of Sulawesi island has been recovering slowly from major inter-communal violence in 2000. Whether these attacks mark the start of a new phase of hostilities remains to be seen.

Sulawesi is unique among Indonesia’s major islands in that Muslims and Christians are more or less evenly numbered, though their distribution is highly uneven. The south is predominantly Muslim, the north predominantly Christian, and the centre, a chequerboard of Muslim and Christian groups and communities.

PreventConflict.org provides more background.

The trigger of the conflict emerged in the shadow of Suharto’s resignation as Indonesia’s President in 1998. As a matter of social convention, the custom in Poso over the past many years was for the bupati (local governor) to alternate between Christian and Muslim office-holders. In this way, the special favors that naturally sprang from political office were somewhat diffused between the two communities. Apparently seizing the transitional tone of the day, then-bupati Arif Patanga, a Muslim, proposed that one of his family members succeed him instead of a Christian.

At around the same time, in what is referred to as the first stage in the Poso conflict, Muslims launched an attack on Christians in Poso, following a brawl between a Christian and Muslim youth. Muslims began to burn down churches and Christian homes, culminating in the second phase of the Poso conflict in April 2000 in which hundreds of Christian homes were destroyed, and many were killed.

The third phase began in May 2000, when the retaliation began in earnest as Christian “ninjas” terrorized and tortured Poso Muslims. Calling themselves “Black Bat” raiders, the Christians attacked Muslim villages. Illustrative is the case of Sintuwulemba, a Muslim village in which a large percentage of the men disappeared or were killed. It is estimated that 300 people were killed although authorities have claimed that it is difficult to produce definitive numbers of the deaths, as the bodies of many victims have supposedly floated out to sea under cover of darkness by way of the Poso River.

In August 2000, the governors of the four Sulawesi provinces declared a truce in the Christian stronghold of Tentena, Pamona Utara subdistrict. Then, in April 2000 the Palu local district court ruled that three Christians who had been accused of involvement in the previous year’s violence would be put to death. Many Christians felt that the death sentence was unjust and biased, considering that no Muslims had been tried for violence that occurred in the first two phases of the conflict. Following the sentencing, there was a resurgence of violence in Central Sulawesi.

In late November 2001, the Muslim-Christian fighting flared up once again, spurred on by the introduction of thousands of Laskar Jihad members in Poso, armed Muslim gangs attacked and burned Christian villages around Poso. An estimated 15,000 Christians had fled from the attacks by early December.

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Molokans in Armenia and a New Mongolia Blog

The invaluable Siberian Light notes a couple of far-outposts: a report on Molokans, Russian Old Believers in Armenia, and a link to a new blog from Mongolia.

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Freakonomics of Sumo

The incentive scheme that rules sumo is intricate and extraordinarily powerful. Each wrestler maintains a ranking that affects every slice of his life: how much money he makes, how large an entourage he carries, how much he gets to eat, sleep, and otherwise take advantage of his success. The sixty-six highest-ranked wrestlers in Japan, comprising the makuuchi and juryo divisions, make up the sumo elite. A wrestler near the top of this elite pyramid may earn millions and is treated like royalty. Any wrestler in the top forty earns at least $170,000 a year. The seventieth-ranked wrestler in Japan, meanwhile, earns only $15,000 a year. Life isn’t very sweet outside the elite. Low-ranked wrestlers must tend to their superiors, preparing their meals and cleaning their quarters and even soaping up their hardest-to-reach body parts. So ranking is everything.

A wrestler’s ranking is based on his performance in the elite tournaments that are held six times a year. Each wrestler has fifteen bouts per tournament, one per day over fifteen consecutive days. If he finishes the tournament with a winning record (eight victories or better), his ranking will rise. If he has a losing record, his ranking falls. If it falls far enough, he is booted from the elite rank entirely. The eighth victory in any tournament is therefore critical, the difference between promotion and demotion; it is roughly four times as valuable in the rankings as the typical victory.

So a wrestler entering the final day of a tournament on the bubble, with a 7-7 record, has far more to gain from a victory than an opponent with a record of 8-6 has to lose.

SOURCE: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, pp. 40-44

Levitt compiles statistics that very strongly suggest that better opponents who have winning records (8-6 or 9-5) but are not in contention on the final day must have powerful (hidden) incentives to throw their bouts in order to give the 7-7 rikishi winning records of 8-7.

So, I thought I’d test that prediction against the recently completed Natsu Basho. Sure enough, on Day 14, there were 5 low-ranking (M = maegashira) rikishi with records of 7-7. And on the final day, as Freakonomics would predict, every single one of them ended up with a winning record of 8-7:

  • Miyabiyama (M3) over Tamanoshima (M1, 5-10);
  • Hokutoriki (M6) over Buyuzan (M12, 6-9);
  • Kotonowaka (M8) over Kyokutenho (M3, 6-9);
  • Aminishiki (M11) over Takekaze (M15, 9-6);
  • Tokitenku (M15) over Asasekiryu (M8, 8-7).

Chances are better than even that any 7-7 rikishi will beat any rikishi with a losing record, as in the first three bouts listed. Only the last two bouts conform to the statistical pattern of Freakonomics, where 7-7 wrestlers have a record of beating 8-6 wrestlers 80% of the time on the final day, and 9-6 wrestlers almost 75% of the time on the last day, when their predicted odds would be a little under 50%.

But another factor enters into the bouts listed above. In every case except Hokutoriki (M6) over Buyuzan (M12), either a lower-ranking rikishi upset a higher-ranking one, or a rikishi with a worse record upset one with a better record. Relative rank isn’t covered by Freakonomics. But the possibility of corruption is.

Several years ago, two former sumo wrestlers came forward with extensive allegations of match rigging–and more. Aside from the crooked matches, they said, sumo was rife with drug use and sexcapades, bribes and tax evasion, and close ties to the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The two men began to receive threatening phone calls; one of them told friends he was afraid he would be killed by the yakuza. Still, they went forward with plans to hold a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo. But shortly beforehand, the two men died–hours apart, in the same hospital, of a similar respiratory ailment. The police declared there had been no foul play but did not conduct an investigation. “It seems very strange for these two people to die on the same day at the same hospital,” said Mitsuru Miyake, the editor of a sumo magazine. “But no one has seen them poisoned, so you can’t prove the skepticism.”

Whether or not their deaths were intentional, these two men had done what no other sumo insider had previously done: named names. Of the 281 wrestlers covered in the data cited above, they identified 29 crooked wrestlers and 11 who were said to be incorruptible.

What happens when the whistle-blowers’ corroborating evidence is factored into the analysis of the match data? In matches between two supposedly corrupt wrestlers, the wrestler who was on the bubble won about 80 percent of the time. In bubble matches against a supposedly clean opponent, meanwhile, the bubble wrestler was no more likely to win than his record would predict. Furthermore, when a supposedly corrupt wrestler faced an opponent whom the whistle-blowers did not name as either corrupt or clean, the results were nearly as skewed as when two corrupt wrestlers met–suggesting that most wrestlers who weren’t specifically named were also corrupt.

For more on Freakonomics, see the authors’ blog, and the Stephen Levitt seminar hosted at Crooked Timber.

UPDATE: Tom of That’s News to Me, who’s far more conversant about sumo than I am (and who’s just finishing up law school at the U. of Chicago), left an interesting comment:

I think there are a couple reasons Levitt doesn’t mention that can help explain what’s going on. First off, it could just be something as simple as comparative advantage; if the 7-7 rikishi has a strong tachiai, then match him up on Day 15 with someone who’s not very good at tachiai defense. Second, I don’t know that he gets the individual incentives quite right; the biggest marginal difference on Day 15 is a shot at the yusho or not, but that’s relatively uncommon. The biggest recurring marginal difference is that between 8-7 and 7-8, so in a world strongly controlled by shared norms, we would expect to see something like this take place pretty consistently even without any other contact between the parties. Personally, I think this reason is alone in and of itself sufficient to explain everything we see that’s going on, at least w/r/t 7-7’s on Day 15. The sophisticated question, I think, is how much the Kyokai discounts the effects of the 8-7, W on Day 15 in doing the rankings, and, maybe more importantly, of the rikishi who took a dive to finish at 5-10 instead of maybe 6-9, and how he did relative to other 6-9’s/5-10’s.

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Two More Japanese Holdouts in the Philippines?

This BBC report explains why I’ve been getting so many search engine referrals to my blogpost last August about Japanese holdouts in the Philippines.

Japanese officials are investigating claims that two men living in jungle in the Philippines are Japanese soldiers left behind after World War II.

The pair, in their 80s, were reportedly found on southern Mindanao island.

The men were expected to travel to meet Japanese officials on Friday, but have yet to make contact.

The claim drew comparisons with the 1974 case of Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda, who was found in the Philippines jungle unaware the war had ended.

The Australian carries an update:

Kyodo News agency, citing Japanese Government sources, identified the two men as Yoshio Yamakawa, 87, and Tsuzuki Nakauchi, 85.

The Sankei Shimbun daily said the men were believed to belong to the “panther division”.

About 80 per cent of the division’s members died or went missing while battling US forces.

And the Japan Times adds an update on reactions by relatives in Japan.

News that two Japanese Imperial Army soldiers were found living in a Philippine jungle evoked both surprise and joy Friday in Japan.

“I was surprised, because I had heard he died in the war,” said Wakako Nakauchi, sister-in-law of Tsuzuki Nakauchi, who belonged to the army’s 30th Division.

Her husband, Nakauchi’s younger brother, died several years ago.

“His mother and brother would certainly have been happy to hear the news if they were still alive,” said the 75-year-old Wakako, who lives in Nakauchi’s hometown in Ochi, Kochi Prefecture.

The other Japanese who was reported alive on Mindanao Island, Yoshio Yamakawa, had a younger brother who died in April in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture [where the recent, deadly JR train wreck occurred].

Seiichi Tsurumaki, a shop owner in Amagasaki who knew Yamakawa’s brother for more than 60 years, said: “(The brother) used to tell me that his older brother fought and died in the Philippines. Had (Yamakawa) been found a little bit earlier, he would have been able to see his brother.”

Goichi Ichikawa, chairman of a group of 30th Division veterans, expressed joy over the news at his home in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture.

“I am glad that they were able to survive for 60 years,” said Ichikawa, 89, who has been working to bring Imperial army soldiers back to Japan.

In February, Ichikawa mailed a petition to Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hidehisa Otsuji, saying he had obtained reliable information that three Japanese men — including Yamakawa and Nakauchi — were living in the mountains on Mindanao.

The Japan Times report has been updated. Here are some new bits of information:

According to the Defense Agency, the 30th Division was originally formed in 1943 on the Korean Peninsula — then under Japan’s colonial rule — and was trained to prepare for war with the Soviet Union. But they were eventually deployed to the southern front and landed on Mindanao in 1944 to battle U.S. forces….

Yoshihiko Terashima, 85, said, “We have filed a petition (for investigations) but the government has taken no action.” He said he first received information from a local contact last August about Japanese soldiers possibly still on Mindanao.

When he visited the island in December, he received information that Nakauchi, Yamakawa and two other soldiers still lived on the island….

After the war, Sakurai reportedly provided medical service to local residents at their request, he said.

They are all aware that Japan was defeated, but are afraid of being punished as deserters, Terashima said, adding he heard there are at least 20 more surviving Japanese soldiers in the area.

Frog in a Well has more links and historical context.

UPDATE, 30 May: Doubts about the story are beginning to surface.

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