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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, May 6) - The family of a Japanese soldier who was stationed in Palau during World War II fulfilled their father’s wish that his ashes be scattered in Palau.

The Sakai family arrived in Palau on Tuesday to scatter his ashes in places where their father, Hisashi, was stationed

His four children — Yoshiyou, Tomio, Shozo and Chieko — cremated their father’s remains and scattered the ashes in Angaur, Peleliu and Airai states with the help of interpreter Lester Rekemesik.

The cremated remains of Hisashi Sakai’s wife were also scattered with his ashes.

Shozo Sakai said their father considered Palau his second home, celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary here in 1998.

After the war, Hisashi Sakai first returned to Palau 30 years ago. Since then, he became a frequent visitor of the country’s Japanese memorial sites.

Yoshiyou Sakai said his father died of natural causes last March 10, a day after he returned from his last visit to Palau.

Shozo Sakai said their trip to Palau was scheduled 49 days after their father’s death as required by their Buddhist belief.

"He loves Palau," said the former soldier’s children who came to Palau with their families from Nagano City in Nagano Prefecture.

Hasashi Hakai was stationed in Palau when the war broke out, and was later transferred to Papua New Guinea where he saw action.

Palau, the Northern Marianas, the Marshalls and present day Federated States of Micronesia are former Japanese possessions.

May 6, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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