(Estimated 300 individuals sought)

The Japan Association for Recovery and Repatriation of War Casualties (JARRWC) is searching for Japanese remains from WWII in Angaur.  The search area is right next to Angaur State Cemetery, an area on a map found during the 2014 survey at the U.S National Archives.

The area has no grave markings and is said to have been a possible mass grave.  At the site, one of the locals interviewed said that they had found the bones of 30 individuals, but the site is said to possibly contain 300 individuals. 

“For decades, the people and the government of Palau have extended help and support to the delegation from the Japan Association for Recovery and Repatriation of War Casualties (JARRWC) as they visit Palau regularly to search for Japanese remains from WWII.

I am deeply grateful for such a long-standing partnership and cooperation between the people of Japan and Palau. It is indeed a testament to the friendly relations between the two countries. I hope the JARRWC’s efforts will continue to be assisted by the people and the government of Palau,” expressed Ambassador Orikasa, Japan’s Ambassador to Palau.

Japan has been searching for the remains of the Japanese from WWII in Palau for decades, and they have done so through research, interviews, surveys, and physical explorations around Palau, especially in Angaur and Peleliu.

” We do obtain information from U.S. military records as to where the remains of Japanese war dead are expected to be located. We also receive information about remains found in caves and on the surface of the ground from local residents. In some cases, we are actually there, surveying the caves and the surface of the earth and making discoveries.

In addition, we also collect information overseas, sometimes from documents stored in archives or military facilities in various countries,” explained the Japan Association for Recovery and Repatriation of War Casualties (JARRWC) of their search for the remains.

“For the Saipan Japanese Cemetery in Angaur, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare found a map during a 2014 survey at the U.S. National Archives. We conducted a field survey based on that map and discovered remains through exploratory digging,”  added JARRWC.

Asked if there is information sharing between the US military and Japan over possible remains, the JARRWC said, “With regard to information sharing from the U.S. military to the Japanese side, if the bones surveyed and collected by the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) are determined to be Japanese as a result of DNA analysis, they may be repatriated to the Japanese side through Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

We have not heard of any information provided directly from the U.S. military, such as maps of Japanese burials, so we do not think this is being done.”

“In Palau, there have been cases where American military historians have provided information on maps of Japanese cemeteries found at the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum.  There is also a case in which an American researcher on Peleliu found remains and provided the information to the Japanese side,” revealed JARRWC.

The work to retrieve the remains is of great importance to Japan and the bereaved families, said Ambassador Orikasa, adding that it is “also for all of us who commemorate the lives of people before us and wish for peace in the world.”

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