A Japanese soldier not seen since World War II has been found alive in the Ukraine:
TOKYO (AP) – A former Japanese soldier last seen by his family when he went off to fight in the Second World War has surfaced in Ukraine and is returning to Japan to see his relatives after 60 years, the government said Monday.
Ishinosuke Uwano, now 83, had been declared among Japan’s war dead in 2000.
Suminori Arima, a health ministry official in charge of locating war veterans lost overseas, declined to say where Uwano had been for the past six decades or why he had not been in touch with his family in Japan.
He said Uwano was expected to arrive Wednesday with his Ukrainian son to spend 10 days with his surviving relatives in Iwate, about 470 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.
“It’s wonderful that Mr. Uwano can make a homecoming visit in good health,” Arima said.
Uwano was an Imperial Army soldier serving in a force occupying the island of Sakhalin in Russia’s far east when the war ended in August 1945. Arima said he was last reported seen there in 1958.
This is a little different than the stories of Japanese soldiers who hid out on Pacific islands after the end of the war refusing to accept Japan’s defeat, only to be found decades later. This guy clearly knew that Japan had lost and had been living in the Soviet Union and later Ukraine for years. I have to wonder if, sensing that his time on earth is growing short, he decided he wanted to contact whatever family he had left. Of course, this begs the question of why he never went back to Japan in the first place sometime in the six decades since the war ended.