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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 22 - 28  > Memorial held for ex-POWs in Siberia and Mongolia
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2018 August 22 - 28 [PEACE]

Memorial held for ex-POWs in Siberia and Mongolia

August 24, 2018

A memorial service for the former Japanese prisoner-of-war internees, including Koreans, Taiwanese and Chinese "Japanese soldiers", who had died in Siberia and Mongolia after WWII took place in Tokyo's Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery on August 23.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira in attendance made a brief address in greeting, saying, "The detention was a state-sponsored crime that must not be repeated again. We now have a law on payment of special benefits for the former detainees and a law to collect the remains of soldiers who died abroad. There has been little progress, however, in the effort to make the whole truth clear and to collect the remains. As the former POWs are getting old, the state government must work on these tasks without further delay."

This annual ceremony takes place on the day when Stalin, commander in chief of the former Soviet Union, in 1945 issued a "secret order" for the internment and the deportation of about 600,000 Japanese soldiers, resulting in more than 60,000 deaths from hunger as well as from the harsh forced labor conditions. The former detainees and bereaved families have been demanding that surveys be conducted to obtain accurate numbers of the detainees and of the dead. They have also been calling for the collection and return of the remains of victims left in Siberia and Mongolia.

Niizeki Shoji, who had been held as an internee for four years in Siberia, said, "The Japanese and Russian governments should uncover the whole truth and take responsibility." The 92-year-old former detainee suggested that the state government launch the investigation as a national project based on POW data obtained from Russia.

Bereaved family member Fujihira Zen'o, 86, said in sorrow, "They survived the war. The war had ended, so why were they carted off and forced to do hard labor?"

Past related article:
> Ex-Japanese POWs want remains of the dead to be collected [August 24, 2016]
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