February 26, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo
Okinawa prefecture and the Battle of Okinawa war-dead remains recovery information center started collecting remains at the planned dirt excavation site in Komesu, Itoman, where bones that appear to be from those who died in the Battle of Okinawa were found. According to the prefectural department of welfare and relief, collection of remains was in progress on February 24, focused on the slope behind the Tokyo Monument, and dozens of bone fragments measuring a few centimeters each have been found.
A representative from the welfare and relief department said, “We have not determined a clear plan and schedule for [collecting remains]. We will continue investigating while progressing onto the next location.” The rear slope of the Tokyo Monument is where Takamatsu Gushiken, a representative for the Battle of Okinawa war remains collection volunteer group “Gamafuya,” discovered bones last November.
The planned dirt excavation site also holds the location of the Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Park. In January, the excavators notified Okinawa prefecture that they would begin development, as dictated by Japan’s Natural Parks Act. The Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) is procuring dirt the southern region of Okinawa’s main island including towns such as Itoman and Yaese, for use in land reclamation for the new base construction in Henoko.
Gushiken is concerned that there may be bones mixed in with the sediment, and has demanded that the ODB call off their plan. After receiving the development notification, the governor has 30 days to order a ban, and since the area is a designated natural park, Gushiken is also requesting the governor enact these measures.
(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)