National / History

Government releases list of over 10,000 Japanese who died in Soviet detention

Kyodo

The government on Thursday released a list of 10,723 Japanese, including soldiers and civilians, who died while being held as prisoners by the former Soviet Union following World War II.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare posted the list on its website, releasing for the first time the names of 2,130 Japanese detainees who died in what is now North Korea, China and locations in Russia’s Far East.

Through 2007, the ministry released the names of about 42,000 Japanese who died in Siberia and Mongolia based on data received primarily from the Russian government, beginning 1991.

It has been working on translating the contents of the list, which includes the detainees’ names and other details, in the hope it can formally confirm who the detainees were.

The list covers 8,593 detainees who died in Siberia, 1,853 in the North Korean city of Hamhung, 11 in Wonsan, North Korea, 178 in Dalian, China, and 88 in such areas as southern Sakhalin and Etorofu Island off Hokkaido. The detainees died mostly in the latter half of the 1940s.

Of those, it has so far confirmed the identity of 2,660 detainees, 261 in Hamhung and 2,399 in Siberia, after cross-checking data supplied by the Japanese government.

According to the ministry, about 575,000 Japanese were detained in the former Soviet Union and 55,000 of them died in Siberia and Mongolia. About 47,000 detainees were transferred to North Korea and Manchuria in northeastern China.