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RICHARD SAKAKIDA, 75, U.S. SPY IN PHILIPPINES IN WORLD WAR II.

Byline: Associated Press

Richard Sakakida, whose controversial role as a spy in the Philippines during World War II made him a hero to some but a collaborator to others, has died at 75.

Sakakida, who suffered from lung cancer, died Tuesday at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

A native of Hawaii, he was sent to the Philippines by the Army six months before Pearl Harbor to spy on the Japanese.

Sakakida was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Bataan and was beaten and tortured for months, according to a friend, retired Army Col. Harry Fukuhara.

A sergeant in the Army, he eventually won the confidence of his captors and served as an interpreter.

While posing as a friend of the Japanese, he passed on information to U.S. forces and once helped free 500 Filipino guerrillas from prison, according to his backers.

However, last year three former guerrillas, including a Roman Catholic priest, charged that Sakakida wore a Japanese uniform and sword and fabricated his role in the escape.

Sakakida's defenders included Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii who hoped to get him a medal.

The senator insisted that Sakakida's story has "been confirmed time and time again."

The National Japanese American Historical Society in San Francisco put together a television documentary about Sakakida called "Mission in Manila."
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jan 25, 1996
Words:218
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