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8th June 1945

Osaka was hit by 250 B-29’s yesterday morning; two days before, about 350 had pounded the city of Kobe. The raids were far away and to those of us in Tokyo they were more of an excuse for reminiscing.

The Thai naval attache related an experience during the great raid of the 25th-26th May. He was at a drinking party at the Dai-Ichi hotel with other naval officers, when the alert was sounded. They paid no attention to it, he said, until, happening to look out of the window, they found the hotel almost surrounded by fire. They hurried down and barely managed to drive their automobile out of the surrounding chaos. They went about uncertainly, searching for a safe passage out of the thick and suffocating smoke. They might have been trapped had it not been for the German assistant naval attache, an expert in motors, who nursed the car along until they got to a bridge. They stayed there until dawn because it was the only place where they could get a breath of fresh air. He was one of those who, like myself, went home the next day to find their house gone.

Nor was he quite sure that his home had not been looted before it went up in flames. There has been an increasing number of thefts during air-raids. Some of the thieves hide in the shelters during the attacks and let the neighbors do all the fire-fighting. Then the latter go to sleep, exhausted by their labors, the thieves steal out of hiding and loot whatever has been saved from the flames. Others are more daring; they go about their business even while the fire is raging. The other day, after a heavy raid, a man was tied to a lamp-post along the Ginza. Around his neck he carried the placard: “I looted my neighbors goods during a raid.” He survived the ordeal.