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Shohei Yamamoto still has to choke back tears when he talks about the day he was expelled from his village of Shibetoro on Etorofu Island off northern Hokkaido, two years after Japan was defeated in World War II.

When about 150 islanders were shipped out on a Russian cargo ship in early September in 1947, a dozen dogs ran back and forth on the beach, barking frantically as if imploring their owners to take them with them.

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