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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 31 - June 6  > Memorial service for ex-Okinawan POWs will take place in Hawaii
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2017 May 31 - June 6 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Memorial service for ex-Okinawan POWs will take place in Hawaii

June 2, 2017
It has come to light that former Japanese prisoners of war on Okinawa will take part in a memorial ceremony for war dead in POW camps in Hawaii.

After the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, more than 3,000 Okinawan civilians were sent to camps in Hawaii as prisoners of war. Of them, 12 died in detention. A memorial service for the 12 people will be held in Hawaii on June 4.

Seventy-seven former POWs and bereaved families along with Vice Governor Urasaki Isho will participate in the memorial ceremony.

On June 1, two former Okinawan POWs held a press conference at the Okinawa prefectural government office building to announce that they will join the ex-POW delegation.

One of the two, former Japanese Communist Party Lower House member Furugen Saneyoshi (87) talked about his experience during his removal to Hawaii. He said, “I was carried in a cement carrier vessel. On the ship, prisoners barely clothed were confined in the cargo decks, fed twice a day, and allowed to take a shower on deck once every three days.”

Another former POW, Toguchi Nobuhiko, 90, said, “Life in the POW camp was mentally stressful because I had no hope of being returned to my home country.”

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