Japanese battleship flag to return from US

Tokyo, Aug 4 (IANS) The flag of the Japanese battleship Mikasa is returning home, 70 years after it was apparently taken as a souvenir by a US marine.

The naval ensign was discovered in Arizona. A 92-year-old veteran was keeping the flag, and has offered to return it, NHK news reported on Tuesday.

The former marine said he took the flag when he was posted in Japan as a member of the occupying forces, soon after the end of the Second World War.

The flag measures 5 metres by 3 metres and has several burn marks.

The naval fleet, commanded by Admiral Heihachiro Togo, defeated the Russian Baltic Fleet in the Sea of Japan in 1905.

The battleship was de-commissioned in 1923, and is preserved in Yokosuka City, near Tokyo.

Bill Koehler, who heads a group supporting veterans, is due to visit Yokosuka soon to hand over the flag to members of the Mikasa Preservation Society.


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