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Kan promises to find remains of fallen soldiers on Iwoto

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"We vow to find them as soon as possible." Aren't they like 65 years late.

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iceshoecream -- kinda agree. Granted, every soldier and their familiy are entitiled to closure and a proper burial. But, let's do the math. If the average age of these soldiers was say 18 in 1945, that would make them 84 or so today. Which means their parents are likely long deceased, as are potentially most siblings. So who is this benefitting? Sailors are buried at sea, why not just let these guys rest in peace? Seems like pandering on Kan's part to me, and there could certainly be a better use of the funds.

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hereforow - I agree. Why don't they make the whole island a memorial.

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I think the Kan government just wants to go down in the books as doing SOMEthing, even if it's not really of current national value. Sadly, like all other DPJ promises, this is likely to end up in failure.

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tokyokawasaki ,I think that would be the most respectful thing to do,make the whole Island a memorial,that way, all those families Japanese and Americans who lost loved ones could pay their respect.

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Kan the grave digger!

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The first six comments I find to be very pertinent and reasonable. Kan is neither one nor the other : just slipping into demagoguery and a systematic flattering of J's extreme right.

French aphorism : "he who sows wind will reap a storm".

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I think it should read missing - presumed dead. Sure! turn it into a tourist destination - revive the economy

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At least he chose an island that's undisputed this time. Will increase the chance of success to about 25% this time. :)

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A responsible government should ensure a proper burial for its soldiers. Especially so when they are on home soil. It's the right thing to do.

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M51T -- assuming for a second that you are right, since when does Japan have a "responsible government"? Certainly not since Koizumi left office. But, just to refute your point, I consider the U.S. to have a reasonably responsible government. And, as you must know, they choose to leave the roughly 1,200 sailors entombed in the USS Arizona. What's the difference here?

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Old Kan up to his usual tricks - making promises for things he cannot deliver.

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herefornow: " And, as you must know, they choose to leave the roughly 1,200 sailors entombed in the USS Arizona. What's the difference here?"

Well, needless to say, the US government isn't trying to suddenly score popularity points any way it can, which is exactly what Japan is doing. Only took... what... 66 years?

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Someone give the PM a spade! Noble intentions but an impossible job, especially considering many J soldiers were set alight by American flamethrowers, torched and buried in caves and tunnel networks. I agree - make the entire island a memorial and leave the issue - and the men - be.

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Other soldiers that are found in other countrys, such as a british soldier was found in france and was returned to england last year then was given a proper burial. This is happening all the time. It dosnt matter what side you was on. They all should have a proper burail.

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Bit late! Typical arse-licking politician sniffing for browny points!

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He could spend the effort better on the present, seeking real strides for the bases.

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Wasn't it Samuel Johnson who described patriotism as the last resort of a scoundrel?

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The way the headline reads Prime Minister Kan will be out there with a pick and shovel. Come to think of it, that would not be such a bad political ploy. It sort of brings new meaning to 'The Bone Collector'. - However, I do agree it should made a priority by the leading party. It is just a matter of whether or not it is only a little grandstanding to win votes.

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Masahide Ota, the former governor of Okinawa, created a Memorial Park in the southern portion (Mabuni Park) of Okinawa - to pay homage to the thousands who fought and died on Okinawa during WWII. I suggest the entire island of Iwo Jima be made a Memorial Island to pay homage to the thousands who fought and died on Iwo Jima.

I fought on Iwo Jima in 1945 and I visited the island again, in 1985. I was there when the letters of Iwo Jima were discovered, along with the mummified bodies of several Japanese soldiers - who were brought home to thier families.

When I die, I would ask to be cremated and my remains be strewn on the black sands of Iwo to join with at least nine other Marines who also have "returned" to rejoin withe spirits of our fellow warriors who died in the battle for Iwo in 1945.

Kan, make your mark and make Iwo a memorial island

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"smithinjapan at 03:17 PM JST - 15th February

I think the Kan government just wants to go down in the books as doing SOMEthing, even if it's not really of current national value. Sadly, like all other DPJ promises, this is likely to end up in failure.

Man you know what time it is over here like me, much love to ya...

BTW if the PM aint visiting bones at the Yasakuni, he's checking out remains from WW2, or he's patronizing okinawa, Like many others have said here in JT the PM's of J-land never think about fighting corporate corruption, gov't corruption, Keystone corruption, organized corruption, and the rising violent crimes.

There a theme here ...oh I see the pattern ....but I cant say it here....shyt!

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herefornow - "...reponsible govt. certainly not since Koizumi left office."

That's worth storing in the quotable quotes archives.

And Kan is hardly alone in "the grabbing @ popular straws" crowd. It's the staple diet of political officiandos - esp here.

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TheMarion

I hear it's a pretty desolate island and thousands were buried under the airstrip there that is used these days for training and so on. War is not a very nice topic but it is impressive to me that someone on this site was actually there in 1945. I'm interested, in those days, did you call the island Iwo Jima or Iwo To or Iwo Island or Sulphur Island? Or something else other than "Hell"?

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It's good to have priorities, even if they are more than 60 years out of date!

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What's the difference here?

There seems to be a cultural difference between the west and east in that the guys entombed in the Arizona have a proper memorial by western standards. By eastern standards a body has to be properly entombed by the relatives or it can't rest in peace. At the same time the US is still looking for MIAs from Viet Nam.

Is Kan trying to score some publicity points? Sure. Is he doing any damage to international relations or the economy by doing this? Nope. Maybe he can help out some of the unemployed by having them search.

I guess I can't see anything wrong with this. Yeah, there are plenty of other ghosts from WWII in Korea and other places. But this addresses one topic. YOu just have to keep working on the others.

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Japan hold top spot among Asian coutries in technology and should be rightly proud. Now,Kan, do the right thing and acknowledge Japan's PAST militaristic aggression once and for all. This will re-gain respect from other Asian countries. Germany did it , it's not that difficult. Forget the far right " nationalist " group,don't let them hijack " patriotism ". As other mentioned, make Iwo Jima a national memorial island.That's a good start.

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"But, just to refute your point, I consider the U.S. to have a reasonably responsible government." I guess we differ on our assessment of 'responsible' governments.

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@HereForNow,

But, just to refute your point, I consider the U.S. to have a reasonably responsible government. And, as you must know, they choose to leave the roughly 1,200 sailors entombed in the USS Arizona. What's the difference here?

There's no difference. During the war, the U.S. Navy sent divers down to cut into the hull and try to recover the bodies of the dead. The two divers were killed in a small explosion when their cutting torch hit a gas pocket on the other side of the bulkhead they were cutting into. The Navy then decided the risk was too great and left the ship's crew there.

If Kan's plan ran into a similar problem (say, unexploded ordinance detonating during excavation) I'm sure they would come to the same conclusion as the U.S. Navy did.

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Disillusioned at 09:11 PM JST - 15th February. The way the headline reads Prime Minister Kan will be out there with a pick and shovel. Come to think of it, that would not be such a bad political ploy.

Compare to other leaders, at least Kan's doing something to recover the remains. This will bring comfort and closure to some families. Give him a credit.

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Fadamor at 05:12 AM JST - 16th February. The Navy then decided the risk was too great and left the ship's crew there.

There is a difference. Initially, over 100 bodies were removed but because the ship was never raised, the remainder could not. When divers attempted to move forward into the interior of the vessel, they found that the main and second decks were blocked with wreckage forward of frame. The priority at that time was salvage of ships that could be repaired and the Arizona was not in that category. As a result, the bodies deteriorated to the point of not being identifiable. Even as late as 1947, requests were made in regard to removal of the dead, but rejected. They are considered buried at sea by the US Navy.

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knews: First, Iwo Jima means Sulfur Island and you note this as oon as you land there. Fact is, my clothes smelled like sulfur for years. I was to be docent last Febuary, but the Japanese closed the island, while to tied to recover some twenty thousand Japanese who died there. I was supposed bring a platoon on island and walk them through what we did in Febuary of 1945 - but, this was called off until the Japanese recover their dead. Most of the dead are in the tunnels and they smothered to death when napalm was shot into the caves and pillboxes. ( Most are connected and one shot serves all) About a dozen of us Marines are arranging to be added to the island after we die and are cremated, much the same as many sailors from the Arizona have asked to have their bodies placed inside the hull of the Arizona and there is one diver who works every day, to bring their remains to an area insidse the sunken hull where the dead sailors rejoin their comrades.

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TheMarion

Appreciate the first-hand account of what must have been an awful time. If you think it is the most appropriate place for you to be buried then that is a good thing. Maybe it would seem strange to some but I guess only you and your mates can really understand why it is necessary for you. I hope you make it to at least 100 years old!

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