AKITA (Kyodo) Toshiro Ishida, a former Japanese military employee who returned from China in 1993 after an absence of 56 years, died Thursday of pneumonia at a hospital in Yokote, Akita Prefecture, his family said Saturday. He was 97.

Ishida, who was born in Akita, was drafted in 1937 and went to China as a civilian employee of the Imperial Japanese Army to gather information there. He went missing just before the end of World War II and was declared dead in 1963.

In 1993, a Hyogo-based civilian group got information about a Japanese man living in Henan Province. DNA testing identified the man as Ishida. He returned to Japan the same year.

His family said Ishida had been suffering from amnesia after receiving a bullet wound to the head during the war.

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