Russians Searching for Yamashita’s Treasure

  • The mystery of the missing gold remains unsolved.
  • It is estimated that gold was stolen by the tonnes.
  • Many treasure hunters have already died looking for the hidden treasure in a series of accidents.

Treasure hunters from Russia are planning to travel to the Philippines in 2020 to look for hidden gold from WWII. They are convinced they have pinpointed the location of the stolen loot and are eager to start the quest.

Since the US and Japan signed a peace agreement at the end of War War II, treasure hunters have searched for General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s gold. During the war, the Japanese general robbed the whole of Southeast Asia of the precious metal, primarily from the former Spanish colony of the Philippines.

After the war, Yamashita was tried for war crimes committed by troops under his command during the Japanese defense of the occupied Philippines in 1944. In a controversial trial, Yamashita was found guilty of his troops’ atrocities even though there was no evidence that he approved or even knew of them, and indeed many of the atrocities were committed by troops not actually under his command. Yamashita was sentenced to death and executed by hanging in 1946. The ruling against Yamashita – holding the commander responsible for subordinates’ war crimes as long as the commander did not attempt to discover and stop them from occurring – came to be known as the Yamashita standard.

The mystery of the missing gold remains unsolved. General Yamashita was one of the best strategists in the Japanese Army during the World War II and was nicknamed the “Tiger of Malaysia.”

He  was born on November 8, 1885, in Kochi, Japan and was the son of a medical doctor. His mother came from a wealthy family. Yamashita graduated from the military academy located in Hiroshima in 1905 and joined the infantry, where he rapidly moved up the ranks. By 1932, he was the section chief of military affairs of the War Ministry. When WWII broke out in the Pacific Theater, Yamashita led 30,000 men in Malaya with the goal to eliminate British and Indian troops and secure access to Malaya’s rich natural resources. His extremely successful two-month campaign from Siam to Singapore captured a total of over 200,000 Commonwealth soldiers and instantly boosted his popularity in Japan

Image Source: University Press

The Philippines became the main region for looting by the Japanese Army, including even inside Buddhist temples. As the Japanese Imperial Army expanded their military control across the Asia-Pacific region, before and during the war, they naturally plundered the wealth and gold of Southeast Asia, similar to the  Nazis, who looted Europe of all kinds of gold, jewels, and artwork. Singapore became the trade center for the items stolen by the Japanese army.

It is estimated that gold was stolen by the tonnes.

Legend has it that General Yamshita hid a substantial amount of gold and the treasure still hasn’t been found. One version of the story has the treasure located at the bottom of the ocean.

An American military commission tried Yamashita on charges of war crimes, and it is rumored that the US army interrogated Yamshita pertaining to the location of the gold and that he never confessed. He was found guilty and executed shortly after.

Image Source: Pandotrip

Many treasure hunters have already died looking for the hidden treasure in a series of accidents. However, the government of the Philippines tried to locate the treasure themselves in 2017 to no avail. The group consisted of 24 lawyers, teachers and private business owners using burrowing equipment.

Furthermore, it has been claimed multiple times over the past five years that the treasure has been found. Thus far none of these claims were truly substantiated.

The search goes on. Will the Russian group be able to find the gold? The mystery continues.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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