Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara had one request for Clint Eastwood before the American film director begins his next project, about the World War II battle of Iwojima Island: Respect the fallen soldiers.

During their 45-minute meeting Wednesday, Ishihara told Eastwood that thousands of Japanese soldiers who died on the island in one of the war’s bloodiest battles remain unaccounted for more than a half century later.

Ishihara asked Eastwood to avoid “sacred” sites of the dead if he films on the island, Tokyo Metropolitan Government spokesman Katsumi Kumagai said. Eastwood replied that he would “absolutely not” trample on Japanese feelings, he said.

Eastwood was in Tokyo for a stopover after visiting Iwojima Island, which lies 1,200 km south of Tokyo and is under administrative jurisdiction of the capital. He is expected to begin filming an adaptation of the book “Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima” later this year, but has yet to ask Tokyo’s permission to shoot on the island, Kumagai said.

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