War-displaced people visit training school for returnees.
A group of 20 war-displaced ethnic Japanese from China on Wednesday toured a school set up especially to train returnees adapt to life in Japan. The group, on a visit to Japan to locate lost relatives, visited the Adoptive Education Center for Japanese Returnees from China in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, to observe classes on Japanese language and lifestyle orientation. The center was established in 1984 by the private Assistance Fund for Remaining Japanese Orphans in China. It accommodates and instructs Japanese returnees and their families who aim to lead independent lives in Japan. At present, 77 individuals from 20 families from China and Sakhalin, a former Japanese territory, are staying there. They are attending four-month courses that give instruction on Japanese language and food and how to carry out such daily needs as shopping. After a briefing by staff members, the group observed language classes for returnees and their children. They also asked questions about the classes and life at the center. "The conditions at the center are wonderful," said Wu Xiue, whose estimated age is 54. "I'm ready to experience difficulties learning Japanese at this age." After the visit, the group returned to the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo, where they are staying. There, they met with civic groups who are supporting them. Known in Japan as "war orphans," a large number of Japanese children were separated from their families in China in the chaos at the end of World War II. Many were raised by Chinese foster parents. The Health and Welfare Ministry has decided to end the group visits, which started in 1981, because the proportion of war-displaced Japanese who have managed to locate their lost kin during trips to Japan has been shrinking. From next year, ministry officials will visit China to interview Japanese left behind shortly before or after the end of the war and organize individual visits to Japan if suitable candidates are found.