SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Soldiers with land mine detectors searched Saturday for metal stakes buried more than 50 years ago by Japanese colonial rulers to disrupt Korea's ``life force.''

The weeklong operation near Andong, in central South Korea, was part of the nation's celebration of the 50th anniversary of its liberation from Japan, Yonhap news agency reported.

During its 1910-45 rule, Japan drove thousands of stakes into the ground at spots geomancy experts determined were springs of life energy.

According to geomancy _ a belief that geographical features can bring fortune or disaster to those who live there _ the metal stakes cut off positive forces emanating from certain sites.

Dozens of civic groups nationwide are looking for and removing the stakes to mark the anniversary, and last month the government's threw its weight behind the efforts.

South Korea also plans to demolish the huge granite building in downtown Seoul that had been the seat of Japan's colonial government.

Geomancers say the building's placement drains away the positive energy emanating from a nearby mountain.