Vietnam's Japanese descendants speak out
In Vietnam, the descendants of soldiers of the now-defunct Japanese Imperial Army spoke of their recent visit to Japan and shared their thoughts about their fathers.
The briefings were held at the Japanese Embassy in the capital city of Hanoi. The descendants visited their fathers' homeland last year for the first time. While in Japan, they offered prayers at the grave of one of the soldiers in Tokyo and met people who knew their fathers.
Japan's ambassador to Vietnam stressed the historical significance of the journey and expressed hope for the future.
Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam, Kunio Umeda said, "I hope the next generation will be proud to serve as a bridge between Japan and Vietnam and further deepen relations between the two counties."
Kazuko sends the remains of her father, who died six years earlier, to her Vietnamese brothers and sister.
One of the members located his half-brother during the trip.
Cao Khanh Tuong, said, "I was so happy. Before going to Japan, I did not expect a lot. It is difficult to describe the feelings I had at that time. I guess it was a mixture of sadness and happiness."
During the war, Japan's military used French administered Indochina as its most important staging area in Southeast Asia. Some former soldiers later fought alongside the Vietnamese people in their struggle for independence from France.
Many of them married local women and had families.
But as ties deepened in the 1950s between Vietnam and China's Communist Party, the former Japanese soldiers were virtually forced by the Vietnamese government to return to Japan, and had to leave their families behind.
The wives and children reportedly faced economic hardship and discrimination.
The families' plight went virtually unnoticed after the war, but drew widespread attention after Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met with them during a trip to Vietnam last year./.