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Last updateFri, 20 Jul 2018 12am

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    Thursday, July 19, 2018-11:23:48A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Kuentai group continues to get updates on its search for WWII remains

KUENTAI-USA, a non-profit group that searches for and repatriates the remains of those killed in World War II, continues to get new information from local residents, its secretary general Yukari Akatsuka said.

She said they recently met with Tanapag residents and visited WWII sites to conduct a purification ceremony, adding they’ve also explored some caves.

On Friday, Akatsuka and Kuentai secretary general Usan  Karata introduced to Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang a Shinto priest and two monks from Japan who joined them in conducting a memorial service in the Aqua Resort Club parking area on Saturday.

The mayor  thanked them for their visit to Saipan and invited them to join the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan next year.

“Hopefully we can have you in time for the Liberation Day celebration next year,” he told them. “We welcome your group, and we hope you could bring many people from Japan too.”

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang and his special assistant Henry Hofschneider pose with members of the Kuentai group and Kuentai USA led by Usan Karata and Yukari Akatsuka on Friday prior to a memorial ceremony at the Aqua Resort Club.  Photo by Junhan B. TodiñoSaipan Mayor David M. Apatang and his special assistant Henry Hofschneider pose with members of the Kuentai group and Kuentai USA led by Usan Karata and Yukari Akatsuka on Friday prior to a memorial ceremony at the Aqua Resort Club. Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

Akatsuka said their group wants to be here for next year’s events.

Apatang noted the difficulty of visiting Saipan due to the bad weather situation last week, and the unavailability of direct flights from Japan.

He said the CNMI government is working hard to reestablish a direct Japan-Saipan flight service.

As for Saturday’s ceremony at the Aqua Resort Club, Apatang said:  “It was a very spiritual ceremony, and they’ve been doing this for three years now.” He expressed his appreciation for Kuentai’s efforts to recover the remains of American and Japanese soldiers and repatriate them to their home countries.

The Kuentai group is complying with the regulatory agencies and has secured the necessary permits, he added.