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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi officially apologized Friday to Japanese who moved to the Dominican Republic with the promise of a Caribbean paradise and fertile farmland under a state-promoted emigration project between 1956 and 1959 and instead found sterile land and starvation.

“The government honestly regrets and apologizes for the enormous hardships the emigrants experienced due to the government’s mismanagement at that time,” Koizumi said in a statement.

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