The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has received an increasing number of inquiries from the families of U.S. World War II veterans concerning the personal belongings of Japanese soldiers taken from battlefields, officials said Monday.

Inquiries of this kind, where the ministry is usually asked to locate the owners of these items or their relatives so that the belongings can be returned, have increased steadily over the years, topping 200 in fiscal 1998.

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