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Emperor, empress to visit Palau April 8-9


The government and Imperial Household Agency said that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will visit Palau April 8-9 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The imperial couple will also spend the night of April 8 on a Japan coast guard ship for the first time ever.

The emperor has long indicated his interest to visit the west Pacific islands to pay his respects to the war dead and pray for world peace. In those areas, more than 46,000 Japanese soldiers died in battle. The imperial couple will also honor U.S. war dead.

In 2005, to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, the imperial couple visited Saipan, another battleground where many people died.

Fuji TV reported that the imperial couple will leave Japan on April 8 aboard a chartered jet. Upon their arrival in Palau, they will have lunch with President Tommy Remengesau and his wife. In the afternoon, they will meet the presidents and wives of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

On April 9, the imperial couple will travel by helicopter to attend remembrance ceremonies on Peleliu Island at monuments for Japanese and U.S. war dead.

The emperor and empress will return to Tokyo later that day.

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Interesting decision to go to Peleliu. I best most Japanese have never heard of it. It's worth reading E.B Sledge's book 'With the Old Breed' that walks through the Peleliu experience from his perspective as a US Marine- it's a frank and forthright chronicle of the absolute nightmare of battle.

I applaud them for going there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Peleliu was a very bitter experience for the American marine and army troops that fought there. What they expected to be a fairly short battle turned out to take much longer. Japanese forces were essentially annihilated, with few survivors, a handful emerging even after the war.

It is good that the Emperor and Empress are going. Remembrance is good because the relationship now is so close after a shared history of bitter enmity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If I'm not mistaken, I think I heard somewhere that Palau is the only country outside of Japan where Japanese is recognised as an official minority language. I guess there must be a few Japanese people living there.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The first Palauan resident was half Japanese, and he was received by Akihito. English and Japanese are co-official languages because Palauan is not a well known tongue at all, and Palau needs to interact with the outside world.

Japan looms large because Palau was a treaty mandate territory for Japan after World War I, but the Japanese essentially treated it like a colony.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The U.S. assault had the highest casualty rate of any War in the Pacific amphibious invasion. Good the imperial couple is going.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Tamarama: old people knew there as Parap Unlike commoners, Emperor got detailed history. But this travel story will enable youngsters to study history and details of Asian war history no matter how LDP want to hide WW II history.

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perhaps they could apologise for the massive suffering caused there during Japan's aggressive and rapacious war efforts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have been to Peleliu twice and my grandpa's pictures are in the museum there as he fought that battle. I wonder where they stay? There are not really any high class accommodations in Palau.

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Japanese is not an official language in Palau. Most of the people who spoke it are dead. The Japanese required a third grade education and forbid anything further. This way they could communicate with their subjects but not let them get too clever and cause problems. They were cruel overlords and mainly used the people for physical labor. There were curfews, strict controls of food and supplies and Palauans were not allowed in the Capitol city. Today, there are some Japanese business and many tourists but there are fewer than 2% living there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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