The government released on Friday photographs of and information about six newly recognized war-displaced Japanese left behind in China in the closing days of World War II.

It is hoped the information will provide clues to finding relatives of the so-called war orphans.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is planning a visit, starting Nov. 21, for the people in this group who wish to come to Japan.

Meetings with possible relatives will be arranged during their stay, a ministry official said.

This is the smallest number of war-displaced Japanese listed by the ministry since the government launched an initiative in 1981 to trace their relatives.

The ministry is urging anyone who knows a possible relative among the six to come forward.

The estimated average age of the three men and three women is just over 60, which means they were about 3 years old at the end of the war, according to the ministry.

The visit is scheduled to last until Dec. 4.

Besides searching for relatives, they will be briefed on settlement possibilities in Japan, and will visit companies and make a sightseeing trip to Osaka, according to the ministry.

During search missions conducted between 1981 and 1999, war-displaced Japanese were able to make group visits to Japan even if they did not have information about possible relatives.

Since 2000, however, only those who receive responses from possible relatives after receiving recognition from the government are allowed to participate in interviews. This is because many of the potential relatives in Japan have either died or are quite old, making it difficult to locate them, according to the ministry.

But the ministry said all can settle in Japan, regardless of whether they find relatives here, because the government has recognized them as having Japanese nationality based on other evidence.

Between 1981 and 1999, 2,116 war orphans visited Japan in 30 groups, with 670 of them succeeding in locating relatives.

As of Aug. 31, the government has recognized 2,767 people as war displaced, of whom 2,449 have moved to Japan.

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