• Kyodo

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A memorial service was held Tuesday in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, for about 3,000 crew members who died when the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato was sunk by U.S. forces on April 7, 1945, during World War II.

About 300 people, including relatives of the war dead and Maritime Self-Defense Force cadets, attended the service in front of a cenotaph for the war dead in the Old Imperial Navy Cemetery.

Kazushi Hiro, 91, leader of a group of survivors and other people who sponsored the event, delivered a speech paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

A naval ensign was raised and an MSDF band played as the families in turn placed white chrysanthemums at the cenotaph.

Of the 3,332 crew members aboard the Yamato, only 276 survived the sinking.

The Yamato, completed in Kure in December 1941, was the largest battleship in the world at the time. It was sunk by U.S. warplanes in the East China Sea southwest of Kagoshima Prefecture while on its way to Okinawa.

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