Japanese Straggler in Ukraine

BBC News reports on yet another long-lost Japanese soldier finding his way back to Japan.

A Japanese ex-soldier who disappeared after World War II and was officially declared dead in 2000 has turned up alive in Ukraine.

Ishinosuke Uwano [上野石之助] was serving with the Japanese Imperial Army in Russia’s Sakhalin Island when the war ended. He was last reported seen there in 1958.

The 83-year-old has now reappeared, in Ukraine, where he is married and has a family, Japanese officials say.

Mr Uwano is due to visit Japan for the first time in six decades on Wednesday.

He is expected to visit his surviving family members and friends in Iwate, 290 miles (467 km) northeast of Tokyo, with his son before returning to Ukraine on 28 April, the AFP news agency reported.

The family’s last reported sighting of him was on Sakhalin in 1958; after that they lost all contact with him.

He’ll arrive in Iwate just in time to see the cherry blossoms he has expressed a desire to see. Uwano has pretty much forgotten his Japanese, but speaks Russian quite fluently, it seems.

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