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Iwojima officially gets a new name

Date Posted: 2007-06-21

The craggy chunk of volcanic rock off the southeast coast of Japan known to millions around the world for its World War II battle involving US Marines has a new name.

Iwojima, the island 1,200 kilometers south of Tokyo, on Monday officially reverted to its pre-World War II name, Iwoto. Iwoto means ‘sulfur island’. The name reversion was made by the Geological Survey Institute, but says it did so at the request of former island residents. The local citizens were ousted by Japanese forces during the war.

Iwoto, then known as Iwojima, was the setting for one of World War II’s most protracted battles between 61,000 American Marines and 21,000 Japanese soldiers. The attack against the entrenched Japanese came in February 1945, setting the stage and securing the outpost before the Battle of Okinawa.

More than 29,000 Americans were killed or wounded in the fierce fighting, while the Americans either killed or captured all of the Japanese.

Iwoto had been home to more than 11-hundred residents before they were displaced by Japanese soldiers in 1944.

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