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75 years later, 1 million Japanese war dead still missing

36 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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36 Comments
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Oh cry me a river. My grandad died in WW2 at sea (Japanese sub attack)and his remains were never found but we had a funeral and still visit his “grave” even if it is symbolic.

My uncle died in the Battle of Okinawa, his name is engraved in the memorial here, my wife's family has numerous members who died during war as well, and their names are engraved too.

No one ever "found" their remains either, yet everyone knows they died during the war.

Times were different "back then" and while many Japanese want to have the remains of their relatives returned, many if not most, realize it is impossible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then why keep pressing the issue for the war dead? You’re missing the whole point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let sleeping dogs lie. There are more pressing matters related to Japan's aggression against its neighbors and more fence-mending still needs to be done. Money should be spent on the surviving victims, not on the rotting bones of the MIAs. The war dead have all returned to the earth and have long been resting in peace. Leave them be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Let's just all agree that it was a really, really bad time to be alive and young. However....we seem to be repeating it.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Atonement Kobe White Bar Owner? Really?

there is no one alive today that did wrong doing to another person during WWII. They have just about all passed away. So who is alive today to make atonement for their behavior? Which generation will be the last to apologize for things that happened during WWII? Which country’s history books to we believe? Let’s just put it to rest and move forward.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

Um, they weren’t allowed to surrender, and were encouraged to fight to the death. Also, the mistreatment of enemy POWs was encouraged. No different?

It seems that you want to insist that Japanese have those traits by default.

NONSENSE.

People change to any state depending on the environment they put themselves in.

Actually did Japanese American soldiers battling in the European front behaved the same way?

NO.

The rebuttal is done.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

“The Japanese people I have met who were soldiers in World War 2 seem no different from the British soldiers I have met. It was a terrible time.”

Um, they weren’t allowed to surrender, and were encouraged to fight to the death. Also, the mistreatment of enemy POWs was encouraged. No different?

17 ( +17 / -0 )

@since1981Today  06:19 am JST

Japan did this, America did that, Germany did this and Britain did that. All the decision makers of WWII have all passed on. So why are people continuing to speak ill of a country? Can't we just learn from the past and not repeat it. I don't want anything from Japan for Pearl Harbor. There is no one alive today that made the decision to attack it. Why should my Japanese friends be blamed for that. They weren't even alive at that time.

One word: Atonement.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

If a country does not want to have it's soldier's die on foreign soil, and have their remains be lost for an eternity, better to not start one in the first place!

yeah right go tell that to the west.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

I highly recommend Fergal Keane's Road of Bones for insight into the gross incompetence among the Japanese military commanders that led to the deaths of 60,000 Japanese troops in one operation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_U-Go

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dtoku_Sat%C5%8D

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Oh cry me a river. My grandad died in WW2 at sea (Japanese sub attack)and his remains were never found but we had a funeral and still visit his “grave” even if it is symbolic.

japan wanting to have its cake and eat it as ever. Also a little ironic that in Japanese funerals your only allowed to take a small present of the ashes. Yet here they are 75+ yrs later searching for body parts, man up and move on!

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Japan did this, America did that, Germany did this and Britain did that. All the decision makers of WWII have all passed on. So why are people continuing to speak ill of a country? Can't we just learn from the past and not repeat it. I don't want anything from Japan for Pearl Harbor. There is no one alive today that made the decision to attack it. Why should my Japanese friends be blamed for that. They weren't even alive at that time.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

this is a very interesting and heart rending article. It discusses some terrible and sad events, many thousands of Japanese military persons who were abandoned by the events of the war, and the loss of naval transport to evacuate or supply distant bases. Those who died far from home have not had much effort to bring them back. I am glad to see that this coverage may help encourage it. Some of the comments here are very thoughtful and accurate especially that of Ms. Carlisle, which encourage me. thank you for the kindness shown by many. These are people, human beings who were serving their country ....faithfully. As were all in that terrible needless war. If there had been fairness and equality shown by the other big powers Japan might have helped bring Asia into the modern world without the imbalance and threat of an out of control China. Now we must face the result but I hope that these lost people can come home. thanks for the coverage a very good one.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

How about Japan do something about the 20-30million they KILLED

What is the source of those numbers? They seem different from what I have read (3-10 million). But do numbers matter?

I'm not defending Japan's actions. They were terrible. But I get angry sometimes when I see it written from the UK perspective on which I was brought up. UK military deaths were in the region of 400,000 in World War 2. But I never learned of the death count the UK inflicted during its spread of Empire (29 million Indians starved to death, I have read about. True? Who knows?)

The Japanese people I have met who were soldiers in World War 2 seem no different from the British soldiers I have met. It was a terrible time.

War sucks!

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Lots of Christian, believe they will be raise from the dead, if so why bother, let them have their external rest

11 ( +14 / -3 )

It is sad butt governments know if they wait long enough, anyone concerned will go away

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Those who started the wars are still in power; those who lost their lives in the wars are still missing. That is the reason why war heads love wars.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

“The government lacked respect for individual remains and their dignity,”

Not hard to believe considering they don't even respect their current, living, and breathing populace.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Considering the unbelievably inhumane treatment meeted out by the Imperial Japanese soldiers on others, my sympathy is quite slim.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

How about leaving the dead in peace and using the money for treating sufferers from black rain?

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Many Japanese personnel disappeared in Mother Russia at the end of WWII. Estimates range from 550, 000 to 760,000 Japanese were taken there after the war ended. Of those taken to Russia, it's been estimated that as many as 350,000 Japanese died in Russian during their imprisonment after the end of WWII. Pretty nasty.

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

I think it was something like 600 got eaten by crocodiles during the battle of Ramree Island.

in the worst recorded crocodile attack ever. It’s in the Guinness book of records!! Ouch!!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Well if Japan showed more contrition for the war. Ie, properly teaching history, banning visits by all politicians to Yasukuni, then it mind find greater cooperation in Asia in retrieving remains.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

The humane thing to do is to do our best to return all remains to their rightful place, regardless what country they are from, so that they can be put to rest and their families can find closure. This all happened over 75 years ago this weekend. It's too late for us to worry about blame at this time. Let's just do what we can to get the remains, all remains, regardless of nationality, back to where they came from.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Japanese didn't leave their fallen behind. They chopped pieces off their comrades to bring back to Japan to cremate.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

60-70% of their cause of death is not battle but starvation.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

"If a country does not want to have it's soldier's die on foreign soil, and have their remains be lost for an eternity, better to not start one in the first place!

The families of these dead will never have closure and there is little if anything that can be done about it"

Hope you don't live in Japan! If you do please never say that to Japanese people.

-24 ( +2 / -26 )

Poor Japan was brutally invaded by vicious fanatical regimes

No. But they did legitimately fear those who did all you say and more. First they were forced to sign the unequal Ansei treaties. Then emerging as one of the "Big Five" after WWI they had their racial equality clause rejected in the peace treaty by the U.S. and Britain who had it rejected despite a clear majority approving. They even acquired territory that the Germans had colonized only to be told they were not allowed to use them militarily. And we all know the brutal and horrible history of the U.S. and Britain, and yes, the others as well. Japanese feared they might be next. They had cause.

I make no excuses for Japanese brutality and all responsible deserved to hang. But lets not scapegoat the Japanese as if Americans, British, Belgians, Germans, French etc were all pure innocents before WWII or even WWI. Evil, corrupt, rapist, murdering, devil scum of the Earth were in their ranks as well.

-21 ( +10 / -31 )

Yubaru, what history do YOU know?

Nomis777sp please tell me your comment was tongue-in-cheek. Now day one can never tell,

-18 ( +5 / -23 )

Top comments.......Japan is the epitome of having your cake and eating it.

Only if you think Japanese are some sort of monolithic hive mind. Trust me. Those Japanese that started the wars didn't care where or if the soldiers died, nor civilians either. And those Japanese that REALLY care now are completely different people and most always were anti-war. Just beware of those that PRETEND to care for political and monetary purposes.

-19 ( +6 / -25 )

Never Leave The Fallen Behind. I hope they bring all back home so their families can rest.

Sounds like an American talking, who doesn't know their own history, particularly of WW2.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

Never Leave The Fallen Behind. I hope they bring all back home so their families can rest.

-19 ( +4 / -23 )

Japanese aggression“ is a war winner version history. It was the West powers in the Asia that were aggressors.

Poor Japan was brutally invaded by vicious fanatical regimes such as Guam,Papau New Guinea, Australia,China, Singapore,Hong Kong to name a few,and the Japanese inhabitants were experimented on with chemical weapons,vivicescions,rape,torture and starvation as well as the pillage of Japan's natural resources.

How dare they....

17 ( +31 / -14 )

where have all the young men gone

when will they ever learn

when will they ever learn..

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Yubaru,

Top comments.......Japan is the epitome of having your cake and eating it.

30 ( +39 / -9 )

If a country does not want to have it's soldier's die on foreign soil, and have their remains be lost for an eternity, better to not start one in the first place!

The families of these dead will never have closure and there is little if anything that can be done about it.

37 ( +46 / -9 )

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