Remains of 4 Dead Retrieved from Pacific War Era Sunken Japanese Military Ships

An old Japanese military command ship that sank off the Truk atoll’s coast, presently the Chuuk Islands in the Federated States of Micronesia during the Pacific War, was found along with the remains of 4 dead, which were handed to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Image for representation purposes only.

The remains of the people were recovered by divers from 2 Japanese military ships on Thursday in a project by the aforementioned ministry. These ships were called the Shinkoku Maru, which was a refuelling vessel and the special cruiser Kiyosumi Maru.

The diver recalled entering the ship’s dim engine room, 38 m below the water surface and placing the bones in a bag. He held it firmly to his chest as he returned to the surface.

Per reports, 4 sets of remains were found from Shinkoku Maru, and some were also recovered from Kiyosumi Maru. The survey team will take them to Japan, and DNA tests will be performed to find the identities of these people.

The ministry has been recovering undersea remains since it realised that the dignity of the dead was being jeopardised by some divers who are insensitive and post pictures of remains from wrecks on social media for a few likes.

Around 3000 former military ships and transport vessels of Japan were targeted by bombings during the Pacific War, but remains of only about 670 people have been found till now.

Per estimates, the remains of around 30,000 people are still in the vast oceans and seas. It was just 3 years ago that the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare brought out this policy to collect information from locals and tour operators to retrieve such remains whenever possible.

The Ministry stated that it was the first time that human remains were collected from the sea overseas after COVID-19 ended. It also promised to work with local authorities and other organisations to collect human remains to uphold the dignity of the country’s dead.

References: NHK, japan news

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