• Kyodo

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A Saga-based nonprofit group has unveiled relics from the 1945 Battle of Iwojima whose owners or their relatives have yet to be located.

The relics, including Japanese flags, gloves and hats, were obtained in 2004 by the Association that Promotes Peace and Reverence for World War Casualties from former U.S. servicemen who fought on the island.

Group officials hope the publicity generated by the recently released Clint Eastwood movie “Letters from Iwo Jima” will help locate the relatives.

“We can make the families happy if we could return any of these relics, no matter how small, to soldiers’ hometowns,” said Masataka Shiokawa, 62, an official with the group whose father was killed during the Battle of Okinawa.

The fierce battle on the volcanic island about 1,000 km south of Tokyo lasted almost a month after the U.S. landing on Feb. 19, 1945.

Nearly all of the 20,000-member Japanese force died. The U.S. forces suffered 26,000 casualties, with nearly 7,000 dead.

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