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Eastwood asked to respect Japan during filming of Flags of our Fathers

Story by: Jack Foley

OSCAR-winning director, Clint Eastwood, has been asked by the governor of Tokyo to respect Japan's sacred war sites during the filming of his latest film, Flags of Our Fathers: Heroes of Iwo Jima.

The Hollywood legend has decided to adapt James Bradley’s best-selling book as his next project and has subsequently reunited with Steven Spielberg to get the film made.

The battle for Iwo Jima, in 1945, left 21,000 Japanese and 6,800 US soldiers dead in a single month and was considered to be a vital turning point in the Second World War for the control of the Pacific.

Yet the US victory continues to be surrounded by controversy and heart-ache, even though it subsequently provided the inspiration for one of the greatest photographs and monuments of modern times.

A photograph of six American soldiers raising a flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's highest point, by Joe Rosenthal, of the Associated Press, has since been recreated in one of Washington's most enduring monuments.

But mystery continues to surround the fate of the war dead, as many Japanese soldiers who were killed remain unaccounted for more than half a century later.

As a result, relatives of the fallen soldiers have continually opposed any building on the island , insisting that it should be left as hallowed ground.

It is this feeling that prompted Governor Shintaro Ishihara to approach Eastwood in the hope that the filming would not be insensitive to the island and the relatives of victims.

And Eastwood has duly responded that he will 'absolutely not' trample on Japanese feelings.

The director intends to begin filming on Iwo Jima later this year, but has still to ask Tokyo's permission, according to a spokesman for the metropolitan government.

He also intends to use a cast of relative unknowns, rather than populate the film with A-listers.

Flags of Our Fathers will mark the second collaboration between Eastwood and Spielberg, following their work on The Bridges of Madison County in 1995.

It is being written by another of Eastwood's past collaborators, Paul Haggis, who penned the screenplay for his recent Oscar-winner, Million Dollar Baby.

Editor's note: A paragrah in a previous version of this article prompted an angry response from several of our readers and has since been removed due to factual inaccuracy.
We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any offence this caused.

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