So, instead of shipping the treasure back to Japan, Golden Lilly operatives began hiding the loot in caves and underground complexes throughout the Philippines.The Japanese believed that when the war ended they would be able to keep the Philippine Islands as a concession for peace.
Emperor Hirohito appointed his brother, Prince Yasuhito Chichibu, to head a secret organization called Kin no yuri (“Golden Lily”), to organize the looting.
Golden Lily teams systematically emptied treasuries, banks, factories, private homes, temples, churches, mosques, museums pawn shops and art galleries, and stripped ordinary people of what little they had, while Japan’s top gangsters looted Asia’s underworld and its black economy.
When the Allied forces landed on Luzon there was still much treasure remaining to be buried, so General Yamashita loaded the remaining loot on trucks and took it with him as his army retreated across the island.
Legend says that as Yamashita fled, he broke the treasure into many smaller stashes that were hidden along the line of his retreat, the bulk of the stashes are said to be concentrated in the mountainous area where Yamashita made his last stand against the invading US troops. According to popular lore, there are said to be 172 documented, official Japanese imperial burial sites (138 on land and 34 in deliberately scuttled ships), not to mention the numerous instances of loot buried by greedy officers and renegade soldiers.
They would then be able to dig up the vast wealth hidden there to rebuild their failing empire.