TOKYO — A Japanese veteran who fought in Myanmar during World War II has been supporting more than 200 students there with a scholarship system he established with his own money.
Seiji Imaizumi, 91, of Tsurugashima, said he hopes the students he supported will serve as a foundation for Myanmar’s development.
Imaizumi set up the Imaizumi Memorial Burmese Scholarship Foundation in 1989. He said he decided to establish the foundation because he “wanted to support Myanmar people who helped Japanese soldiers retreating in the Battle of Imphal.”
In the Battle of Imphal, which began early in 1944, the Japanese military tried to capture an Allied forces’ stronghold in India. Imaizumi, then 20, joined the battle as an infantry soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Imaizumi marched a mountain road, carrying about 88 pounds of food and ammunition on his back. He said he suffered from hunger due to a bad supply situation and even ate small animals and wild grass.