A former British prisoner of war has returned to Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, 61 years after he was released from a POW camp in the city where he had been forced to work in an iron ore mine
Frank Planton, 85, was captured by Japanese troops in Java, Indonesia, in March 1942, and sent to a camp in Hakodate, Hokkaido, eight months later.
In June 1943, he was relocated to the Ohashi POW camp in Kamaishi, where he was held until the end of World War II in August 1945. He headed home a month later.
During his two-day visit to Kamaishi, Planton delivered a speech on June 1 at Kamaishi Middle School in which he spoke about his daily routine at the city's mine, where he transported iron ore using a cart.
The former POW talked of his fond memories of the city, particularly its mild climate, which he compared favorably to Hakodate's, and said he received sufficient food.
He added that he never thought he would return to the city but decided to do so after learning that a friend in Yokohama, Taeko Sasamoto, had been made an Honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.The Yomiuri Shimbun/Jun. 12, 2006