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5th March 1945

One of the Filipinos in Japan, in soliciting aid from the embassy as an air-raid victim, had a horror story to tell. Sometime ago he had persuaded a young Japanese country girl to run away from home and work in Tokyo. He went to live with her without registering the common-law union with the police, as required by law. The last raid surprised the girl alone at home. She took refuge in the usual trench shelter. But the house caught fire and collapsed on top of the trench before she could get out. He found her body in the ditch, most of it still unburnt because the rubble and the wreckage had covered it. Now he could not apply for the relief given to air-raid victims; he was afraid to tell the police he had been living with the girl without benefit of registration.

We did what we could, for him and as he was leaving, I asked: “But what about her parents? Will they ever know?”

“Oh, they’ll know. She was registered with the neighborhood association. Name, home address, relatives, to be notified.”

“Poor people! ”

“Oh,” he shrugged his shoulders cynically. “They won’t mind so much. Life is cheap in the country and she was just a girl.”