JUNYOKAN!

(NATORI - colorized photo by Irootoko Jr)

IJN NATORI: Tabular Record of Movement

© 1997-2014 Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp
Revision 7


14 December 1920:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard.

16 February 1922:
Launched and named NATORI. Captain Fukushima Yoshichika (28) is posted Chief Equipping Officer.

15 September 1922:
Completed and registered in the IJN. Captain Fukushima is posted CO.

20 November 1922:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Morita Minoru (30)(former CO of TONE) assumes command.

20 November 1923:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ogura Taizo (31) assumes command.

1 December 1924:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Inoue Shiro (31)(former XO of MUTSU) assumes command.

20 November 1925:
Captain Mizushiro Keiji (32) assumes command.

20 May 1926:
Captain Mizushiro Keiji (32) is appointed the CO.

1 November 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Ichikizaki Keiichi (31), CO of TOKIWA, assumes command of NATORI on "paper".

1 December 1926:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Matsumoto Chuza (32)(former XO of ERIMO) assumes command.

20 August 1927:
Captain Tsuda Takehiko (33) assumes command, with additional duty as CO of SHIRETOKO.

15 November 1927:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Arichi Jugoro (33)(former CO of SHIOKAZE) assumes command.

1 August 1928:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Higurashi Toshiu (34) (former CO of HAYATOMO) assumes command.

10 December 1928:
Captain (later Rear Admiral,) Sada Kenichi (35) (former CO of YAMATO) assumes command.

30 November 1929:
Captain Koyama Yoshiro (34) assumes command.

1 December 1930:
Captain (later Rear Admiral,) Miki Taichi (35) (former CO of SENDAI) assumes command, with additional duty as CO of TOKIWA.

10 December 1930:
Captain Miki assumes full-time command.

5 April 1931:
Captain Hoshino Kurayoshi (36) assumes command.

1 December 1931:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Nakayama Michimoto (37) (former Training Fleet Staff) assumes command.

25 January 1932:
Captain Nakayama assumes command of HAYATOMO as an additonal duty.

10 June 1932:
Captain Goto Terumichi (35) (current CO of SENDAI) assumes command as an additional duty.

1 December 1932:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuki Matsukichi (37)(former CO of TATSUTA) assumes command.

15 November 1933:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Matsuura Eijiro (38)(former CO of TSUSHIMA) assumes command.

15 November 1934:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Kishi Fukuji (40)(former CO of TAKAO) assumes command.

15 November 1935:
Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Okamura Masao (38)(former CO of ASAHI) assumes command.

1 December 1936:
Captain (later Vice Admiral) Nakahara Yoshimasa (41) assumes command.

10 November 1937:
Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Nakao Hachiro (40) (former CO of NAGARA) assumes command.

5 December 1938:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Aruga Takeo (42) (former Chief Navigator, HARUNA) assumes command.

28 September 1939:
Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Matsubara Hiroshi (45)(current CO of 12th Minesweeper Division) assumes command as an additional duty.

15 November 1939:
Cdr Matsubara is promoted Captain and posted ComDesDiv 27.

19 October 1940:
Captain Matsubara is posted ComDesDiv 24.

15 November 1940: Captain (later Rear Admiral) Yamazumi Teijiro (44) (former XO of NAGARA) assumes command.

31 January 1941:
In 1940, a border dispute between Siam (now Thailand) and French Indochina (Vietnam) erupted into armed conflict. A Japanese-sponsored "Conference for the Cessation of Hostilities" is held at Saigon and preliminary documents for a cease-fire between the governments of General Henri Philippe Petain's Vichy France and the Kingdom of Siam are signed aboard NATORI.

28 July 1941:
Captain Sasaki Seigo (45)(former CO of ONDO) assumes command.

26 November 1941:
NATORI is the flagship of Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hara Kenzaburo's (former CO of TAKAO) DesRon 5, in Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo's (former CO of YAMASHIRO) Third Fleet. DesRon 5 is assigned tactically to the No.1 Surprise Attack Unit of the Philippine Seizure Force.

Sorties with DesDivs 5 and 22 from the Terashima Strait.

29 November 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

2 December 1941: Operation "Z":
DesRon 5 receives the signal "Niitakayama nobore (Climb Mt. Niitaka) 1208" from the Combined Fleet. This signifies that X-Day hostilities will commence on 8 December (Japan time).[1]

7 December 1941:
Departs Mako with DesDivs 5 and 22 escorting six transports carrying elements of the IJA's 48th Infantry Division.

10 December 1941:
Covers landings in northern Luzon. The NATORI group's objective is the capture of the airfield at Vigan. NATORI provides fire support, bombarding the shoreline. The landing force is attacked by three Army Air Force B-17 bombers of the 14th Squadron including one piloted by Captain Colin Kelly. They drop 600-lb and 100-lb bombs. NATORI evades the first bomb attacks, but receives a near-miss off her port side when she attempts to approach minesweeper W-19 of No. 2 Base Force. W-19 is hit, grounded and then given up as a total loss. DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE is also damaged slightly by near misses.

11 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako for emergency repairs, then departs Mako for Takao, Formosa.

18-22 December 1941:
Departs Takao with DesDivs 5 and 22 escorting 27 transports carrying the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 48th Infantry Division and the 4th Tank Regiment. The army units are landed at Lingayen Gulf.

26 December 1941:
NATORI is reassigned to the No. 2 Escort Unit with light cruiser KASHII and destroyers. Departs Camranh.

28 December 1941:
Departs Mako with the No. 2 Escort Unit escorting 43 transports of the Third Malaya Convoy to Singora, Malaya.

8 January 1942:
Arrives at Singora.

12 January 1942:
Arrives at Camranh Bay, Indochina.

16 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

31 January 1942:
At 1500 (JST), departs Takao for Camranh escorting a troop convoy with DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 22's MINAZUKI, and NAGATSUKI.

2 February 1942:
NATORI receives a warning about an American submarine sighted near Camranh. The convoy reduces speed to be able to arrive there in broad daylight.

3 February 1942:
Arrives at Camranh sometime after 1200 (JST). A floatplane from NATORI provides ASW cover for the troopships entering the harbor.

18 February 1942:
Departs Camranh Bay with her eight destroyers escorting a troop convoy of 56 transports.

28 February 1942: The Battle of the Sunda Strait:
The invasion fleet divides into three groups. Ten transports escorted by light cruiser YURA and DesDiv 22's SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMIZUKI and NAGATSUKI steam for Ajner Lor west of Sunda Strait. The second group, DesRon 3's light cruiser SENDAI and DesDiv 20's AMAGIRI, ASAGIRI and YUGIRI split off and make for Semarang, Java. In the evening, the main invasion force arrives off St. Nicolaas Point, at the entrance of the Sunda Strait. Six transports deploy at Merak while 27 transports land the 2nd Infantry Division at Bantam Bay.

NATORI with DesDiv 5's ASAKAZE, DesDiv 11's SHIRAYUKI, HATSUYUKI, DesDiv 12's SHIRAKUMO and MURAKUMO and DesDiv 27's SHIRATSUYU with CruDiv 7's MIKUMA and MOGAMI deploy N and W of the landing areas. Distant cover is provided by light carrier RYUJO, seaplane tender CHIYODA, CruDiv 7's KUMANO and SUZUYA and DesDiv 19's ISONAMI, SHIKANAMI and URANAMI.

USS HOUSTON (CA-30) and the Australian light cruiser HMAS PERTH sortie for Tjilatjap via the Sunda Strait. At 2215, they attack Japanese troop transports screened only by DesDiv 5's HARUKAZE and HATAKAZE and DesDiv 11's FUBUKI. The destroyers make smoke to mask the transports.

FUBUKI charges HOUSTON and PERTH and launches a salvo of Type 90 torpedoes at PERTH. They miss the PERTH, but hit Army transports SAKURA MARU and the Commander-in-Chief of the invading 16th Army LtGen Imamura Hitoshi's transport RYUJO MARU. Imamura jumps into the sea, but survives. Transports HORAI and TATSUNO MARUs and minesweeper W-2 are also lost in this action. [2]

FUBUKI then makes smoke until MIKUMA and MOGAMI arrive.

At 2300, Third Escort Force's NATORI and her destroyers arrive with the Western Support Force's MOGAMI and MIKUMA and SHIKINAMI. SHIRATSUYU opens fire on the Allies. NATORI, with HATSUYUKI and SHIRAYUKI, then opens fire and rapidly closes the range. At 2308, the Allied cruisers turn NE as they near Penang Island. NATORI and her destroyers head SE in three columns. Between 2310 and 2319 they launch 28 torpedoes at the Allies. HOUSTON and PERTH reply. PERTH's gunfire damages HARUKAZE's rudder and SHIRAYUKI's bridge killing eight crewmen.

At 2319, MIKUMA and MOGAMI each fire six Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoes each at PERTH from about 9,300 yards. HOUSTON and PERTH were both about out of main battery ammunition. At 2322, MIKUMA and MOGAMI open main battery fire from about 12,000 yards, assisted by the searchlights of their destroyers.

At 2326, HARUKAZE and HATAKAZE launch torpedoes. At 2330, SHIRAKUMO and MURAKUMO also launch torpedoes. At 2327, MOGAMI fires six Long Lances at HOUSTON. Altogether, the Japanese launch about 90 torpedoes in the engagement.

PERTH, low on ammunition, is making 28 knots when the first torpedo hits her forward engine room. Two more torpedoes hit her forward magazine and aft under "X" turret. Captain Hector M. L. Waller orders "Abandon Ship".

1 March 1942:
A fourth torpedo hits PERTH. At 0025, she sinks about three miles ENE of St. Nicholas Point at 05-51-42S, 106-07-52E. Waller and 351 crewmen are lost.[3] At 0045, HOUSTON sinks at 05-48-45S, 106-07-55E. Her skipper, Captain Albert H. Rooks, is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. NATORI remains at Bantam Bay, Java as a guardship.

10 March 1942:
NATORI is assigned to CruDiv 16 with light cruiser NAGARA.

14 March 1942:
After the occupation of Java, Imperial General Headquarters issues orders directing the CINC, Combined Fleet, to occupy Christmas Island, NEI.

26 March 1942:
Departs Makassar.

29 March 1942: Operation "X" - The Invasion of Christmas Island:
The new Second Southern Expeditionary Fleet's Occupation Force under ComDesRon 4 Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Nishimura Shoji departs Bantam Bay, Java. It consists of the flagship NAKA, CruDiv 16's NATORI and NAGARA, DesDiv 9's MINEGUMO and NATSUGUMO, DesDiv 16's AMATSUKAZE and HATSUKAZE, DesDiv 22's SATSUKI, MINAZUKI, FUMITSUKI and NAGATSUKI, oiler AKEBONO MARU and transports KIMISHIMA and KUMAGAWA MARUs carrying about 850 men of the 21st, 24th Special Base Forces and the 102nd Construction Unit.

31 March 1942:
At 0945, Nishimura lands the men of the 21st, 24th Special Base Forces and the 102nd Construction Unit who occupy the island. The British-Indian garrison surrenders at once. The small island, though rich in phosphates, lacks the surface needed for the construction of a port or an airstrip.

At 0949, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Frederick B. Warder's USS SEAWOLF (SS-197) fires four torpedoes at the NAKA, but misses.

1 April 1942:
Christmas Island. At 0650, SEAWOLF fires three torpedoes at NATORI, but they also miss. At 1804, Warder fires his last two torpedoes at the NAKA from 1,100 yards. One hits starboard near her No. 1 boiler. NAKA's destroyers counter-attack and keep SEAWOLF down for many hours.

2 April 1942:
Warder surfaces after midnight and slips away. NATORI tows badly damaged NAKA.

3 April 1942:
Arrives at Bantam Bay with the NAKA, then departs.

4 April 1942:
Arrives at Batavia, Java. Patrols in the Java Sea.

15 April 1942:
Departs Batavia.

16 April 1942:
Arrives at Makassar, Celebes.

24 April 1942:
Departs Makassar.

25 April 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan, Borneo. Refuels.

27 April 1942:
Departs Tarakan.

29 April 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.

2 May 1942:
Departs Surabaya.

May 1942:
Arrives at Batavia. Patrols in the Java Sea.

June 1942:
Departs Batavia.

June 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.

9 June 1942:
Departs Surabaya.

14 June 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

17 June 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru. Begins a refit.

20 June 1942:
Drydocked.

1 July 1942:
Captain Inoguchi Toshihira (46)(former XO of KUMA) assumes command. Captain Sasaki is later reassigned as CO of MOGAMI, then as CO of CHITOSE.

5 July 1942:
Undocked.

10 July 1942:
Departs Maizuru.

July 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

19 July 1942:
Departs Makassar.

20 July 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.

24 July 1942:
Departs Surabaya.

31 July 1942:
Arrives at Mergui, Burma.

9 August 1942:
Departs Mergui.

12 August 1942:
Arrives at Penang.

18 August 1942:
Departs Penang.

20 August 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

21 August 1942:
Departs Singapore.

22 August 1942:
Arrives Surabaya.

30 August 1942:
Departs Surabaya.

31 August 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

1 September 1942:
Departs Makassar. Arrives at Davao that day.

3 September 1942:
Departs Davao.

9 September 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 September 1942:
Drydocked.

22 September 1942:
Undocked.

23 September 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

2 October 1942:
Arrives Surabaya.

10 October 1942:
Departs Surabaya. Patrols in the Timor Sea.

16 October 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

28 October 1942:
Departs Makassar.

1 November 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

1 November 1942:
Departs Ambon. Supports landings at the Tanimbar Islands.

13 November 1942:
Arrives at Makassar.

November 1942:
Vice Admiral Takasu Shiro (former CO of ISUZU), CINC, Southwest Area Fleet, orders NATORI, ASHIGARA and KINU to prepare to engage an American-Australian landing on Timor that is expected to occur in December based on an intelligence report received from the Italians. Later, the report proves false.

19 December 1942:
Departs Makassar.

21 December 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan. Refuels. Embarks a Special Naval Landing Force.

21 December 1942:
Departs Tarakan.

25 December 1942:
Arrives at Hollandia, New Guinea. Disembarks troops.

26 December 1942:
Departs Hollandia.

29 December 1942:
Arrives at Ambon.

31 December 1942:
Departs Ambon. Arrives at Lomblen Island.

8 January 1943:
Departs Lomblen to assist in the rescue of torpedo boat TOMOZURU bombed by USAAF aircraft on 6 January.

9 January 1943:
18 miles SE of Ambon at 04-07S, 128-32E. At 0838, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) W. B. Sieglaff's USS TAUTOG (SS-199) sights NATORI at about 3,000 yards. At 0841, Sieglaff fires his first two torpedoes. At 0943, his crew hears a loud explosion and sound reports that the cruiser's screws have stopped. The torpedoes hit NATORI in the stern. It breaks off and carries away her rudder. NATORI fires at TAUTOG's periscope after being hit.

In the next few minutes, as NATORI gets underway at reduced speed, Sieglaff fires two more torpedoes, but they either miss or are duds. NATORI manages to escape and arrives at Ambon that day. Tautog also reported that Natori had fired at her periscope after being hit (taken from Blair).

20 January 1943:
Captain Ueda Mitsuharu (45)(former CO TENRYU) assumes command. Captain (Vice Admiral, posthumously) Inoguchi is reassigned later as CO of TAKAO, then is KIA as CO of MUSASHI in October 1944.

21 January 1943:
Ambon. NATORI is damaged by a near-miss starboard side by a 500-lb. bomb dropped by a Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber of the 90th Bomb Group's 319th Bomb Squadron. The bomb opens plates and causes the No. 2 boiler room to flood. NATORI departs Ambon that day.

23 January 1943:
Arrives at Makassar. Undergoes temporary repairs.

27 January 1943:
Departs Makassar.

31 January 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

2 February 1943:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore. Begins further temporary repairs.

3 February 1943:
Drydocked. Hull repairs. A temporary rudder is installed.

30 April 1943:
Undocked.

24 May 1943:
Temporary repairs are completed. Departs Singapore.

24 May 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

24 May 1943:
Departs Mako.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at Maizuru.

7 June 1943:
Drydocked.

Natori carried the 126th Navy Air Defense Unit from Kure to Davao, 5 to 11 June 1944. 10 June 1943:
Undocked. Begins repairs and modernization. Her Nos. 5 and 7 140-mm guns are removed as are her catapult and derrick. A twin Type 89 127-mm HA gun is fitted as are two triple mount Type 96 25-mm AA guns. This brings NATORI's 25-mm AA suite to fourteen barrels (2x3, 2x2, 4x1). A Type 21 air-search radar is fitted and hydrophones are installed at her bow. NATORI is rerated as a Fourth Reserve ship during the many months of her repairs in the overworked Maizuru yard.

20 July 1943:
Captain (later Rear Admiral) Hirai Yasuji (43)(former CO of YUBARI) assumes joint command.

18 March 1944:
Captain Kubota Toshi (46)(former ComDesDiv 24), a survivor of torpedoed destroyer UMIKAZE, assumes command.

1 April 1944:
Repairs and modernization are completed. Reassigned to the Maizuru Naval Station for sea trials.

12 April 1944:
Drydocked.

16 April 1944:
Undocked.

25 April 1944:
Departs Maizuru.

20 April 1944:
NATORI is assigned to Vice Admiral (Admiral, posthumously) Nagumo's Chuichi's (former CO of KIRISHIMA) Central Pacific Fleet.

30 April 1944:
Arrives at Hashirajima.

15 May 1944:
NATORI is assigned as the flagship of the Central Pacific Fleet/DesRon 3.

5 June 1944:
Embarks the 126th Navy Air Defense Unit. Departs Kure.

11 June 1944:
Arrives at Davao, Philippines. Disembarks the 126th Navy Air Defense Unit and embarks other troops.

16 June 1944:
Departs Davao.

17 June 1944:
Arrives at Palau. Disembarks troops and departs.

18 June 1944: Operation "A-GO" - The Battle of the Philippine Sea:
Joins Vice Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo's (former CO of HARUNA) Mobile Fleet's Supply Force as an escort.

19 June 1944:
Detaches from the Mobile Fleet.

22 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

26 June 1944:
Departs Manila.

28 June 1944:
Arrives at Davao. Remains as a guardship.

12 July 1944:
Departs Davao.

13 July 1944:
Arrives at Palau. Embarks personnel for evacuation.

14 July 1944:
Departs Palau.

15 July 1944:
Arrives at Davao. Disembarks personnel.

20 July 1944:
Departs Davao. LtCdr Eric Barr's BLUEGILL is patrolling off Davao Gulf. Close to shore, Barr picks up NATORI making 26 knots. Barr, who sank light cruiser YUBARI on his first patrol, is eager to sink another cruiser on this second patrol. He rings up flank speed, but is unable to gain a favorable firing position.

21 July 1944:
NATORI arrives at Palau. Embarks 800 Japanese and Korean "comfort women" for evacuation and departs.

22 July 1944:
Arrives at Davao.

29 July 1944:
Embarks personnel and departs Davao.

31 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

5 August 1944:
Refit at Cavite Naval Base. Drydocked.

8 August 1944:
Undocked.

10 August 1944:
Departs Manila escorting Transport No. 3 (T.3). NATORI carries, among others, eight reserve ensigns from universities and sixty PT boat crew. The ship’s reload torpedoes were off loaded. Lumber was loaded as material for rafts if the ship sank. Forced to alter course in the San Bernardino Strait because of reports of an American Task Force in the vicinity.

12 August 1944:
Arrives at Cebu.

13 August 1944:
Departs Cebu for Palau escorting the fast transport T.3. Anchors off the western entrance to the San Bernardino Strait.

14 August 1944:
Departs the San Bernardino Strait. Arrives at Biliran Island.

15 August 1944:
Departs Biliran Island. Arrives at Cebu. Refuels.

16 August 1944:
Departs Cebu.

17 August 1944:
Transits the the San Bernardino Strait.

18 August 1944:
200 miles E of Samar, Philippines. NATORI is accompanying the T.3 to Palau. Cdr (later Captain) Fitzhugh McMaster's USS HARDHEAD's (SS-365) radar picks up NATORI east of the San Bernardino Strait. McMaster identifies the target as a battleship and closes for a surface attack.

At 0240, one torpedo of McMaster's first salvo of five Mark-23 steam torpedoes fired at 2,800 yards hits NATORI portside in a boiler room. She stops dead in the water. At 0330, McMaster hits NATORI to starboard amidships with one of a second salvo of four Mark-18 electric torpedoes fired from his stern tubes.

At 0330, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message from NATORI to fleet HQ in Manila that reads: “At 0240, torpedoed by enemy submarine. One hit. LAT 12.05 N. LONG 129.26 . Despite serious damage, no fear of sinking at present. Unable to maneuever."

At 0530, a second dispatch from NATORI is intercepted and decrypted that reads "Getting underway westward at six knots, under own power."

At 0704, NATORI sinks at 12-29N, 128-49E. Three hundred-thirty crewmen including Captain Kubota, Chief Gunnery Officer LtCdr (Cdr posthumously) Miyamoto Isao (63) and Chief Engineer LtCdr (Cdr posthumously) Ishiguro Sadasuke go down with her. T.3 escapes. Destroyers URAKAZE, KIYOSHIMA and TAKE search for survivors unsuccessfully until 23 August, but pick up no one.

20 August 1944:
Light cruiser KINU and destroyer SHIGURE are enroute from Palau via Cebu to Manila; but are diverted to assist NATORI, but are unable to locate her.

30 August 1944:
Surigao, Mindanao. 183 of NATORI’s survivors arrive in open boats after rowing some 300 nm.

31 August 1944:
E of Surigao Strait. At 1640, LtCdr Sam C. Loomis' USS STINGRAY (SS-186) rescues one officer and three Japanese crewmen from a red rubber raft with white stripes at 11-40N, 129-51E. The survivors are in serious physical condition from exposure and lack of food. Later, during interrogations they identify the light cruiser sunk earlier as their ship, NATORI.

12 September 1944:
USS MARSHALL (DD-676) captures a lifeboat with another 44 survivors of NATORI aboard. 12 other Japanese sailors in the boat had perished.

Captain Kubota is promoted Rear Admiral, posthumously.

10 October 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors' Notes:
[1] Mt. Niitaka, located in Formosa (now Taiwan), was the highest point in the Japanese Empire at the time.

[2] Post-battle analyses indicate MOGAMI's and FUBUKI's torpedoes probably sank or disabled W-2 and the transports.

[3] There have been 1354 recipients of the Victoria Cross since its inception in 1856 through the Falklands War in 1981. For reasons known only within British and Australian naval bureaucracies, no member of the Royal Australian Navy has ever been awarded a Victoria Cross, even though the valor of its members, such as Captain Waller of PERTH, seems at least comparable, or superior, to other winners.

Special thanks for assistance in researching the IJN officers mentioned in this TROM go to Mr. Jean-François Masson of Canada. Thanks also goes to Aldert Gritter ("Adm. Gurita") of the Netherlands. Thanks go to Don Kehn, Jr. for further info about the survivors of NATORI. - Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp.


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