The Peleliu State of Palau had commemorated yesterday the third anniversary of the visit of Japan Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in the Pacific nation and had even passed a law to make the special day a non-working holiday.

The royal couple had visited Palau for the first time last April 9, 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 and at the same time pay tribute to all the soldiers who perished in the war.

Palau’s National and State government leaders had attended the event yesterday in Peleliu, including dignitaries from other embassies. Even special guests from the Ibaraki Prefecture of Japan had flown all the way to Palau just to be part of the celebration.

A number of Japanese soldiers who died in the war were reportedly from the Ibaraki Prefecture.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Palau, Toshiyuki Yamada, said in his speech during yesterday’s event that the Emperor and Empress’ visit was a true testament of Japan’s commitment on the friendship between the two nations.

“Japan wholeheartedly appreciates the government and people of Palau for the warm hospitality extended to their majesties during their visit,” Yamada said.

Yamada added that the Emperor’s visit to Palau on April 9, 2015 had brought renewed attention to the place which had been a witnessed to “tremendous loss” during the second world war.

During World War 2, over 12,000 Japanese soldiers and 1,700 Americans perished in a two-month fight in 1944 on the Peleliu island.

“We had been given the rights and privileges to conduct surveillance of old bones through the Japanese special agency, JMAS in order to ensure the safety of the bone collection team which has now been conducting the business here in Peleliu Island,” Yamada said in his speech. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)