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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.

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