Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Nov 2019 12am







    Thursday, November 21, 2019-5:26:24A.M.






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Remains of one possible American soldier recovered, Kuentai-USA digs for more

THE remains of a possible American soldier have been recovered by Kuentai-USA during an excavation in Achugao yesterday.

Kuentai-USA expedition leader Yukari Akatsuka said they finally got the permit from the Historic Preservation Office yesterday afternoon to start digging after a week’s delay.

“We started digging at 12:40 p.m. and came upon the remains of one possibly American soldier at the site,” Akatsuka said.

Kuentai-USA took the second option offered which was to locate the burial sites, take photos, record the remains and bury them again, Akatsuka said.

Professional surveyors will be called to do further investigation.

“We are expecting to find more remains of soldiers buried in the site as we dig some more and try to find as many as we can in the next few days until September 8,” Akatsuka said.

A non-government organization, Kuentai-USA has been frustrated by the lack of support from the U.S. and CNMI governments.

“It sounds like the U.S. government wants us to bear the cost of recovery for the remains of their dead soldiers. I now wonder if the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command really wants to recover the remains of fallen servicemen,” Akatsuka said.

She called someone with the U.S. Department of Defense to ask for advice and assistance, but she was told JPAC does not have a budget for the recovery of remains, and that Kuentai-USA as a non-government organization cannot get any financial support from the U.S. government either.

“This is hopeless. No wonder the remains of 43,000 soldiers who died in the Pacific have not been returned to their families yet,” Akatsuka said. said.

The other option Kuentai-USA was given was to have an archaeologist do the recovery work on behalf of JPAC and when possible remains of American soldiers are recovered, Kuentai-USA must have someone monitor the site to secure the remains during the night. It must also work with a certified professional archeologist and have him or her record the details of the findings by using the methods that JPAC utilizes.

The archeologist must remove the remains from the ground, bring them to HPO for safekeeping and wait until the forensic team from JPAC arrives to do the forensic analysis.

Akatsuka said they were also told that JPAC cannot cover the cost so Kuentai-USA must pay the archeologist $3,000 per burial.

“So we had to go with the other option because we cannot afford to pay the archaeologist that amount,” Akatsuka said.

Kuentai-USA aims to recover the remains of 16 American soldiers who have been listed as missing in action since the end of World War II.

Kuentai-Japan has already discovered four mass graves and retrieved the remains of 780 Japanese soldiers and five American soldiers in Achugao.

Kuentai-USA saw the urgency of working on the recovery mission before the construction of a resort hotel at the site begins.

For more information about Kuentai-USA, visit