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Landowner hopes people stay away from WWII landmark

Date Posted: 2002-09-21

The owner of the land that is the site of the so called Kabira Trench in Gushikami Village, a Battle of Okinawa landmark that contains remains of soldiers are civilians that were killed there during the war, wishes that people stayed away. To keep the curious and those who come to give their prayers away from the site, the owner has erected several handwritten signs stating “This is private property, no trespassing!”

Over the years the site has attracted hundreds of visitors from mainland, who have to come to pray for their relatives who perished during the battle. Some school group tours have even visited the site as part of their studies of the war.

Earlier the owner of the land welcomed the visitors and even acted as a tour guide, but as the number of visitors increased, he decided that he could not handle the situation. “The place is actually rather dangerous with many rocks and caves and with no paths to guide the visitors. I cannot take the responsibility of their safety,” the landowner says. He says that if local authorities want to preserve the site for historical significance he has nothing against the idea. “But someone, the prefecture of the government should pay for the cleaning and maintenance. I cannot do that myself,” he says.

Gushikami Village Mayor Shinjo Moromisato agrees. “The trench is an important historical site. “The site should be taken care by either the prefecture or the state. We should preserve it for future generations so that they can learn from the past,” he says.

Prefecture officials say that they cannot provide funds because the land is private. But all agree that if something is not done, the time will destroy all traces of the past.

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