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The government held a memorial service Monday in Tokyo for unidentified Japanese who died overseas during World War II and whose remains were returned to Japan last year.

Officials from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry deposited the ashes of 418 people in a charnel house at Chidorigafuchi cemetery in Chiyoda Ward, bringing the number of unidentified people whose ashes are stored there to 348,824.

A government mission brought the latest ashes to Japan from such locations as the former Soviet republics, Indonesia and Iwojima Island.

Prince Akishino, his wife Princess Kiko, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were among some 700 officials and representatives of families attending the service.

“I mourn for the war dead who became the foundation for Japan to establish the peace and prosperity it enjoys today,” Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi said.

Sakaguchi said he is determined to continue striving for permanent peace.

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