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Joint memorial service held for those who perished in Battle of Iwo Jima

JIJI

A Japanese-U.S. memorial service was held on Iwo Jima on Saturday to remember those who died in the savage battle on the Pacific island during World War II.

A total of 230 people including veterans and family members of the deceased prayed for the souls of the approximately 29,000 who died in the battle.

“Iwo Jima is an island where enemies reunite, reconcile and pray together for peace,” said Tetsuro Teramoto, 73, head of the Japanese association for the families of Iwo Jima victims.

The island, technically part of the Tokyo village of Ogasawara, has since been renamed Iwoto.

Japanese officials who attended the event included Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and welfare minister Katsunobu Kato.

Japan and the United States will work together to prevent any such tragedy from happening again, Onodera said in response to a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who spoke about his experience of the battle.

U.S. troops landed on Iwo Jima in February 1945 about half a year before the end of World War II. Some 21,900 Japanese servicemen perished, and it is said the remains of some 11,500 still remain.