Sato Michio, Son of Japan and Friend of Russia, is Remembered By Russians and His Countrymen

The life of Sato Michio, the son of Japan and friend of Russia, is commemorated on Monday in Khabarovsk, an administrative center in Russia's Far East, and in the Japanese city of Toyoma.

A display of documents and photographs related to the life and work of Sato Michio, one of the first men of people's diplomacy, is opened in one of the halls of the Khabarovsk Union of Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Union's deputy chairman Nina Fomina said.

In the 1920s Sato Michio, risking his life, came out for friendship and cooperation between the peoples of Russia and Japan. Documents of those years testify that Sato Michio in 1919 to 1922 worked in a Japanese firm in Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Chita. He protested against the beginning Japan's intervention into some regions of Russia's Far East and East Siberia (on instructions from Moscow these regions for some time formed an independent buffer zone, the Far Eastern Republic, to avoid a direct armed clash between Soviet Russia and Japan). He joined the antiwar movement and campaigned among Japanese soldiers for an end to the intervention.

Sato Michio died in December 1922 and was buried with honors at the Red Army Cemetery in Khabarovsk.

Japanese set up a Sato Michio Association in his hometown of Toyoma, the Miyagi prefecture. They collected money and bought a small plot of land on the Suidoyama mountainside, where they erected a modest memorial. The words cut on a granite side of the memorial read: "The peoples of Japan and Russia should live in peace and friendship. Our countryman Sato Michio gave his life for it. We will remember him forever."

Each year on May 5, Sato Michio's birthday, public representatives gather in Toyoma. At one of such meetings Fumio Hattori, a professor of the Tohoku University, said: "Sato Michio saw decades ahead. He clearly understood the truth - Japan's future is in friendship and cooperation with other nations, with our neighbor Russia."

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