HIGASHISHIRAKAWA, Japan (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. veteran returning a fallen Japanese soldier's flag to the man's relatives (all times local):
The younger brother of a fallen Japanese soldier has thanked a U.S. World War II veteran for traveling all the way from his hometown of Montana to a small village in central Japan to return the Japanese flag he took from the brother's body.
Ninety-three-year-old Marvin Strombo returned the flag he took from Sadao Yasue's body in the summer of 1944 on the Pacific Island of Saipan.
Yasue's body was never returned to his siblings, and the flag is now the only trace of their brother to return from the battlefield.
Tatsuya Yasue, the 89-year-old younger brother of the soldier, thanked Strombo for thinking about returning the flag for more than 70 years while keeping it in good condition. The flag's white background is filled with signatures of 180 friends and neighbors in the tea-growing mountain village, wishing Yasue's safe return. The signatures helped Strombo find its rightful owners.
A U.S. World War II veteran has returned to a fallen soldier's family a Japanese flag he took from the man's body 73 years ago.
Marvin Strombo knew the calligraphy-covered flag was more than a keepsake of the war. It was a treasure that would fill a void for the dead man's family.
The flag he handed over Tuesday to Sadao Yasue's siblings is the first trace of their brother. The Japanese authorities only gave them a wooden box containing a few rocks, a substitution for the remains that have never been returned.
Strombo has said he also plans to explain to Yasue's relatives how their brother died.