KUSAKA, AKIRA Name: Akira Kasaka Rank/Branch: Civilian 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 Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: auto Refno: 1585 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: 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 survival." 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 and friends. 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 the U.S.