Bodies, mass graves found on Iwo Jima

2010-10-22 22:09

Tokyo - Two mass graves that may hold the remains of up to 2 000 Japanese soldiers have been discovered on the island of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest and most iconic battlesites of World War II, a report and officials said on Friday.

A team of Japanese searchers has discovered 51 remains in two areas listed by the US military after the war as enemy cemeteries, one of which could contain as many as 2 000 bodies, Japan's Kyodo news agency said on oFriday.

The team was to report its findings later n Friday to the prime minister's office.

Officials at Japan's health ministry, which supervises search efforts on the remote island, confirmed that 51 bodies had been recovered and two sites believed to be burial grounds had been found.

But they could not immediately confirm the potential size of the mass graves or other details of the Kyodo report.

The discovery of the remains would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in decades toward finding the bodies of roughly 12 000 Japanese who remain missing and presumed dead after the 1945 battle on the island, which has been renamed Iwoto by the Japanese government.

The island was seen as key to the United States because it had an early warning radar station and three airfields used by Japanese fighter planes that posed a threat to US bombing raids on Tokyo and Japan's main islands.

The US wanted the airfields for its fighter escort planes.

Atomic bombs

Virtually all of the 22 000 Japanese soldiers tasked with defending the rugged, volcanic crag were killed in the battle, which became a symbol and rallying point for the United States in the Pacific war after the US flag was raised on its highest ground, Mount Suribachi.

The battle claimed 6 821 American and 21 570 Japanese lives. Dozens of remains are recovered every year, but about 12 000 Japanese are still classified as missing in action and presumed killed on the island, along with 218 Americans.

Fighting began on February 19 1945, but Iwo Jima was not declared secured until March 26.

Japan surrendered in August of that year, after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

According to the Kyodo report, searchers dug near a runway at a base used by the Japanese military - the only full-time inhabitants of the island - and at the foot of Suribachi.

It said the operation began early this month based on information from the US National Archives and Records Administration.

The report said the main site is estimated to have about 2 000 bodies and the Suribachi site 70-200 bodies.

It said the recovery effort was expected to take several months.

- AP
Read more on:    japan  |  war
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

10 facts about swimming you didn't know

This will make you want to jump right into the pool.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Inspiring: Rock climbing with just one leg
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.