The number of Japanese migrants to Fuqing appears to have increased after 1937, as the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War and then the larger Asia-Pacific War led many Chinese to evacuate from Japan with their families. While many of those who retained documentation of their Japanese nationality were able to return to Japan after the war, many others remained in Fuqing for decades.
Even as the Japanese government sought to use resident overseas Chinese to build images of "Sino-Japanese Amity" and lend legitimacy to collaborationist regimes on the mainland, Chinese who remained in Japan during the war were subject to increasing regulations and suspicions. Fuqing peddlers suffered economic hardships due to new prohibitions on their movement across prefectural boundaries, and many were arrested for such violations. In Kobe, special higher police arrested and tortured thirteen Fuqing peddlers as suspected enemy spies from 1944 to 1945, Two men died in police custody, and four other died shortly after being released. Those who survived their wartime imprisonment returned to China after Japan's defeat.
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