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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
WWII-displaced man visits Japan
Yoshiteru Nakagawa
Yoshiteru Nakagawa said he was overwhelmed with joy
A 79-year-old Japanese man left behind on the Russian island of Sakhalin at the end of World War II has returned to Japan for the first time in 67 years.

Yoshiteru Nakagawa greeted relatives in a tearful reunion as he flew into the country for a two-week visit.

"I never even dreamed that I'd be able to return to Japan," he said.

Thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians were left stranded across the Pacific and in parts of China and Russia after the war ended in 1945.

Mr Nakagawa was escorted in a wheelchair to relatives waiting in the airport on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.

"I'm so overwhelmed with joy I don't even know how to express it in words," Mr Nakagawa said in Russian, translated through an interpreter.

He also spoke a few words in his native language.

Mr Nakagawa reportedly came into contact with the Japanese embassy five years ago, but details of his life after the war remain unclear.

One of his sisters was quoted by Kyodo news agency as saying Russian forces had mistaken him for a Japanese soldier and taken him to the mainland.

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