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JAPAN JOINS TRIBUTE TO A 'MAN OF PEACE'.

Byline: Paul Suart

A FORMER prisoner of war who devoted his life to improving relations between the UK and Japan has died aged 92.

Major Philip Malins was held by the Japanese in Burma during the Second World War and was awarded the MBE for his services during the campaign.

He also won the Military Cross for overseeing a highly dangerous mission in French Indochina after the war ended.

But he became best known for his peacetime work, including a campaign for Far East PoWs to receive compensation.

Bachelor Maj Malins, who grew up in Erdington and attended Aston Grammar School, was also chairman of the International Friendship and Reconciliation Trust.

In November 2010, he became only the second non-Japanese national to be awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for his reconciliation work.

Japan's ambassador to Britain, Keiichi Hayashi, attended his funeral at Robin Hood Crematorium in Solihull yesterday.

"The UK has lost a wartime hero and Japan has lost a friend," Mr Hayashi said.

"He was a great beacon of light and hope towards reconciliation and friendship. "He will be sadly missed and his legacy and spirit will live on forever in our hearts."

The standards of countless military groups, including the Birmingham branch of the Burma Star Association of which Maj Malins was founder and honorary president, were raised when his coffin was borne into the chapel. Stephen Malins, from Kinver, near Kidderminster, described his uncle as a "good man who helped so many people over the years".

CAPTION(S):

Griffiths, Stephen Malins, Anthea Dent and Charlie Dent paying their respects. Much respected: Major Philip Malins and, inset, with former Ambassador Ebihara.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Apr 25, 2012
Words:279
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