Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 18 Jan 2018 12am







    Wednesday, January 17, 2018-4:25:58P.M.






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Kuentai to hold memorial service for fallen soldiers

KUENTAI-USA, a non-profit organization that retrieves the remains of American and Japanese soldiers so they can be brought back to their families, is holding its second annual memorial service on Saipan to pay tribute to the fallen heroes during the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese Banzai Attack on July 7, 1944.

Kuentai’s memorial service will be held on Friday, July 7, in the parking lot of Aqua Resort at 10 a.m.

CNMI leaders led by Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres as well as community members are invited to participate in the ceremony.

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Kuentai secretary general Usan Kurata and Kuentai USA secretary general Yukari Akatsuka pose with special assistant to the Saipan mayor Henry Hofschneider.  Photo by Junhan B. Todiño

Kuentai said it has already retrieved the remains of thousands of American and Japanese soldiers and artifacts during recovery missions in the Philippines and in the CNMI over the past several years.

In the Battle of Saipan, from June 15 to July 9, 1944, over 13,000 American soldiers were either killed or wounded while 30,000 Japanese soldiers died.

Kuentai said to date, 28,000 Japanese and 477 American soldiers who fought in the Asia-Pacific region are still missing.

Meeting with the mayor’s office

On Monday, Kuentai secretary general Usan Kurata and Kuentai USA secretary general Yukari Akatsuka, met with Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang’s special assistant, Henry Hofschneider, to discuss the memorial service scheduled for Friday.

“It is important for the people to know what happened on that day,” Akatsuka said.

On July 7, 1944, Akatsuka said, over 5,000 Japanese and American soldiers died on Saipan.

To date, she added, they have exhumed 800 Japanese remains on the island.

Hofschneider said Kuentai is working with CNMI regulatory agencies, including the Historic Preservation Office, Coastal Resources Management, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and Department of Public Lands.

Akatsuka said they are encouraging local residents to continue providing them with any information regarding possible remains of Japanese soldiers.