Searching for the 1 million Japanese soldiers remains after 75-years is daunting, especially when Japanese expansionism in World War II makes it hard for all the battles fought in Asia.
To this day, many countries in Asia who were conquered still harborijng ill will to former Japanese aggression, which is a hindrance to getting cooperation in recovering them.
Overall, the missing Japanese combatants make up half of all the 2.4 million men. They were engaged in military campaigns in Asia during the first half of the 1900s or 20th century, reported AP.
These places are in the many islands in the South Pacific, and in northern China and Mongolia as well. Another place is Russia..
On Saturday, it will be the anniversary of the formal end of the Pacific War that saw the rise of new world order. One fact that cannot be denied is that finding the remains of Japanese combatants is scarce, which may mean that closure for those with relatives may never come.
It is staggering to realize that only 500,000 remains may be returned for testing, but the rest are not. Japan's aggression saw battles in land, sea, and air that makes it hard to retrieve them. Factors that might include security and political reasons are also hindrances. This was remarked by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, who gave these reasons to families seeking the remains of long-dead relatives in the war, noted New York Times.
Seeking the repatriation of Japanese combatant remains from situating them, identifying the remains is made harder by other factors. Another is that relatives and families age, some forget.
Japanese parliament made a law in 2016 that began an eight-year search for remains to be recovered until 2024. They are cooperating with the U.S. Department of Defense to do DNA matching, should any remains be found in islands with military bases, cited Daily Herald.
DNA matching was initiated by the Japanese in 2003, though there needed to be a request from families to have it done. In July, a Remains Information Center was started to carry out genetic testing at the family's request.
Severe Japanese losses from 1943 onwards in the Pacific theatre of war. Bereaved families got empty boxes weighed with stones. The military did not give the circumstances of the soldier's death. All the war dead were to be enshrined as gods at the Yasukuni Shrine.
Most government after the war ended, did the same thing,they have no focus on getting the remains tagged to their families, which was harder to do then.
In 1952, the postwar Japanese government sent the first group of remains when the occupation of the US ended in Japan. But the gesture was rebuked by Asian countries who are at the receiving end of their aggression, years back.
Still seeking to find the remains, the government in the 1950s sent missions to battlegrounds for collecting remains to appease certain sectors. An exercise in futility as the remains never got tagged or sent back to relatives and families.
A total of 10,000 remains was found, but the welfare ministry in 1962 was not keen and tried to end the search. However, stopping this is impossible since more veterans and families are asking for help to find their dead soldier loved ones.
Most of the 340,000 Japanese Soldiers are kept at the Chidorigafuchi national cemetery of unknown soldiers in Tokyo.