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State-funded DNA analysis has identified eight Japanese soldiers who were buried in the former Soviet Union, where they were held in prison camps after the war.

The identification, confirmed on March 4, was the first time for soldiers in such tests conducted and funded by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in a government initiative to identify unknown soldiers that began last fall, ministry officials said.

On Friday, the ministry released the names of prefectures where relatives of the eight currently live, as well as their relationship with the deceased.

The remains will be returned to the relatives by the end of the month.

The ministry conducted DNA tests on the remains of those whose identities are presumed from burial documents.

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