Japanese and South Korean members of a Buddhist liason group said Saturday they will try to have the remains of Korean soldiers returned to South Korea.
The Buddhist cultural exchange body plans to launch a campaign for the return of the remains of Koreans who served as soldiers and paramilitary personnel in the Imperial Japanese forces during World War II.
According to sources close to the case, the remains were taken to Japan by Japanese soldiers after the war. What was then the Health and Welfare Ministry kept the remains of 2,326 soldiers in storage.
The remains of roughly half were later identified and returned to their families. Yutenji Temple, in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, has been stored the remains of the remaining 1,136 soldiers since 1971.
Japanese members of the Buddhist body said they will call on the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to cooperate in trying to identify the families of the dead. They noted that the South Korean side is planning to construct a memorial for the souls of the fallen soldiers.
“While it is said that the memories of the war are fading, I would like more Japanese to know that such a problem still exists on the Japanese side,” said Akihiko Miyabayashi, who heads the group.
A memorial service for the fallen Koreans was held at the temple the same day.
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