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Battle of Okinawa remains found during construction

Date Posted: 2009-09-24

The bodies of three men who fought in the World War II Battle of Okinawa have been uncovered by construction crews working in Urasoe City.

The remains were found in the Maeda area, an area along with Kyozuka that was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Spring 1945 battle. The Urasoe City Board of Education, which is handling the discovery, says there are still many underground air raid shelters and unexploded ordnance in the area, but expressed surprise at finding the three bodies.

“At this area there are tombs dating back 300 years,” an official says, and ruins that still dot the landscape 64 years after the fierce battle. The three bodies were found inside a shelter ruins, all still in good condition. One of the bodies was found with hands bending and crossed behind his head, while a second man’s body was slumped on top of the first. A third body was found only a foot away, lying in a sleeping position.

Investigators say the bodies appear to be those of men in their 20’s or early 30’s. No identifying information was found on the bodies, which were in a shelter 12 meters deep and two meters wide. The top of the shelter had collapsed, and a three-meter-deep layer of soil covered the ruins. The investigators theorize the men had taken shelter, only to have artillery shells bombard the area and bury them alive.

“I feel like the war hasn’t finished yet,” said a member of the Urasoe City Board of Education staff. “because of finding these remains so near to our life space.” The bodies will be buried at a state-owned fallen soldiers’ grave in Itoman City.

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