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YANAGIMOTO, Nara Pref. — It’s just quiet farmland now, nothing more than fields and a few houses. But if you listen closely as the wind rustles through the rice stalks, you might just be able to hear the ghostly sounds of World War II fighter planes taking off and landing at what was once one of the largest air bases in western Japan.

In late 1944, the Japanese military, knowing the war would soon be lost, conscripted Korean laborers, Japanese orphans and students to build four runways on 3,000 hectares in the town of Yanagimoto, now a southern part of the city of Tenri.

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PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)