Japan will resume a project to recover the remains of the country’s war dead in the Philippines next month, the welfare ministry said Friday.
A group will go to the main Philippine island of Luzon from Oct. 9 to 17 to probe remains that have been discovered together with items believed to have belonged to perished Japanese troops. They will also interview residents in areas where fallen soldiers were possibly buried, the ministry said.
The project has been suspended since 2010 due to the possibility that bones other than those of Japanese were mistakenly collected, but the governments of Japan and the Philippines signed a memorandum of understanding in May to resume the project.
Once the remains are verified through DNA analysis, another group will be sent to retrieve them.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said about 370,000 sets of remains of troops who died in the Philippines are still there, and aging family members are hoping for an early resumption of the project.
In 2011, a ministry report said that of 311 sets of remains stored in the Philippines, samples had been taken from 130 and just five appeared to be those of Japanese. DNA samples could not be extracted from 20 sets at the time.
The ministry also received a report the following year from experts who examined DNA from the other 181 sets of remains and found they were unlikely to be those of Japanese.