Remains of 2,508 dead laid to rest at war memorial

The remains of 2,508 people who died abroad during World War II were laid to rest at Tokyo’s Chidorigafuchi war memorial May 26 in a government-sponsored ceremony.

With the newly housed remains collected from such places as the former Soviet Union, Iwo Jima Island and the Solomon Islands, the memorial now holds the remains of 341,889 Japanese killed in World War II, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry, which is in charge of war victims’ relief. “So many compatriots fell in fierce battle while hoping for stability at home,” said Health Minister Junichiro Koizumi during the service. “We mourn for them deeply and confirm our determination to create an eternal peace.”

Among the 618 present at the ceremony were Prince Hitachi, brother of the Emperor, and his wife, Princess Hanako, Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto as well as representatives and relatives of the dead. Participants, including ambassadors of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Marshall Islands, each presented a yellow chrysanthemum in honor of the war dead.