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WWII battlefields soon to get additional protection

Date Posted: 2010-06-24

Inspections of World War II battlefield will begin this fall, with an eye to better protecting the battlefields while making more practical use of the cultural and historic sites.

Okinawa Prefecture is creating an investigation committee in August to oversee the process of developing standards of how to research and investigate the Battle of Okinawa sites to better assess cultural assets. The prefecture began studying the battle sites more than seven years ago, and has already confirmed 979 different wartime fighting locations. To date, none of those investigations have led to designations as cultural assets.

“This is the first time to make a basic standard for battlefields,” said one official, noting “it might be good reference to other prefectures.” He said one goal is to enhance studies for academic value, and predicts the project will take five years to complete. Initial investigation study subjects are the Japanese Navy Commander’s underground air raid shelter headquarters in Tomigusuku City, and the Okinawa Army Hospital in Haebaru, also an underground air raid shelter.

Okinawa Prefecture says it’s commissioned cultural assets studies of 13 battlefield sites in eight municipalities. The centralized effort is hoped to be more effective and less costly than each municipality addressing the investigations individually.

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