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Monday, May 30, 2005
  Update on the possible Japanese Hold-Out's
MDN: News on Japan as it happens: "GENERAL SANTOS, The Philippines -- At least one of the two old men said to be former Japanese Imperial Army soldiers who have remained on Mindanao since the end of World War II 'is not Japanese,' Embassy officials in Manila said Monday.

Embassy officials are poised to call off the search for the two men because of the unreliability of the information received that they are alive and the difficulties involved in confirming their existence.

'We have instructed government officials to return to Manila and think about how we are going to approach the situation, including what to do with the mediator,' Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters in Tokyo on Monday.

The 58-year-old Japanese man claiming to be acting as an intermediary for the two men said to be former Imperial Army soldiers told the Mainichi on Saturday that he had not met the men, nor did he have any proof that they were still alive on Mindanao.

Consular officials later said that the intermediary had told them that he had met one of the two men and he was not Japanese.

Sources close to the case said the intermediary met one of the men on Sunday.

'He learned that the man he met is not Japanese,' the source said. 'It will be very difficult to confirm anything now.'

Meanwhile, the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted a spokesman from the Moro Islam Liberation Front as saying that it had information on former Japanese soldiers."
 
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