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A group of 40 lawmakers and business executives has launched a fundraising drive aimed at restoring Japanese graves in Uzbekistan and erecting a monument in honor of those who died as forced laborers on foreign soil.

At least 20,000 Japanese were moved from Japanese-occupied Manchuria and northern Korea after World War II to the then-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan to work in open-pit coal mines, and in construction and other projects.

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