Name: Akira Kasaka
Unit: Correspondent, Fuji Television
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Japan
Date of Loss: 06 April 1970
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 110236N 1060419E (XT171209)
Status (In 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel in Incident: Claude Arpin; Yujiro Takagi; same day at same
grid coordinates: Sean Flynn, Dana Stone (all captured)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: Photo journalists Sean Flynn and Dana Stone left Phnom Penh on
rented Honda motorbikes to find the front lines of fighting in Cambodia.
Traveling southeast on Route One near a eucalyptus plantation in eastern
Cambodia, the two men were stopped at a check point at grid coordinates
XT171209 in Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia, and led away by elements of the
Viet Cong Tay Ninh Armed Forces and elements of the combined North
Vietnamese-Viet Cong Ningh Division based in Cambodia.
On the same day, French freelance journalist-photographer Claude Arpin, on
an assignment for Newsday, and Japanese correspondents Akira Kusaka, a
correspondent for Fuji Television, and Yujiro Takagi, a cameraman with Fuji
Television, arrived by auto at the same location on Route 1. A UPI report at
the time stated that the group had been captured 10 kilometers east of chi
Phu on Cambodian Route 1.
Sean Flynn is the son of actor Erroll Flynn. Although Flynn had spent much
of his life in California and New York, his mother, Lili Loomis, maintained
homes both in Palm Beach and Ft. Dodge, Iowa. Flynn was on a photo contract
to Time Magazine, and his friend Dana Stone was on contract to CBS to cover
American fighting in Cambodia. Both men were "veterans" of combat news.
Stone attended school in New Hampshire, but his home was in Vermont, where
his parents resided. He had been in the U.S. Navy at the time of the Bay of
Pigs incident. Both men frequently travelled with military units on patrol
and operations. The Marines who knew Dana Stone called him, "Mini-Grunt".
Information obtained from indigenous sources indicated that Stone and Flynn
were executed in mid-1971 in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia.
Various sources, including an intercepted radio message from COSUN, the Viet
Cong high command, indicate that Flynn and Stone survived. One source
reported that he had seen "a group of very long haired, bearded, tall
prisoners near Minot, Cambodia" who were identified as "imperialist
journalists". Over the years, meanwhile, there has been occasional word from
isolated Cambodian villages that someone saw the "movie star" who is being
held prisoner by the Khmer Rouge.
Flynn's colleagues have said, "If anyone is equipped to survive...years of
hardship in the jungle, it's Sean Flynn...he's very much an expert at jungle
Author Zalin Grant interviewed returned ARVN POWs in early 1973 and released
the following data supporting other stories indicating journalists could
still be alive. "Returned ARVN POWs sighted the (unnamed) journalists on
Route #7, 17 miles south of Snoul in Eastern Cambodia 7-72 in ox-carts
pulled by Hondas; another said a VC captain near Minot, eastern Cambodia
(where military American POWs were released from in 1973) reported the
(unnamed) journalists held in 7-72 had cameras; Cambodian national saw
(unnamed) journalists in 6-72 at Prince Sihanouk's FUNK camp south of Route
#13 in Kratie Province; returned ARVN POWs said a guard told them in 3073
that the journalists were still alive and held in their area." Walter
Cronkite reported a sighting of (unnamed) journalists in January, 1974.
Whether Grant's and Cronkite's information relates to Arpin, Flynn, Stone,
Kusaka, and Takagi is not known. The five are among 22 international
journalists still missing in Southeast Asia, most known to have been
captured. For several years during the war, the correspondents community
rallied and publicized the fates of fellow journalists. After a while, they
tired of the effort, and today these men are forgotten by all but families
Tragically, nearly the whole world turns its head while thousands of reports
continue to flow in that prisoners are still held in Southeast Asia.
Cambodia offered to return a substantial number of remains of men it says
are Americans missing in Cambodia (in fact the number offered exceeded the
number of those officially missing). But the U.S. has no formal diplomatic
relations with the communist government of Cambodia, and refused to directly
respond to this offer. Although several U.S. Congressmen offered to travel
to Cambodia to receive the remains, they have not been permitted to do so by