Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan visited Iwo Jima on Tuesday (December 14, 2010), which is the first Japanese territory to be attacked by U.S ground troops during the World War II. This island has recently witnessed the discovery of two mass graves that contain remains of about 2,200 people. Mr. Kan said his government was responsible for seeking as many soldiers as possible by sifting through every grain of sand and bringing these belongings to their homes.
Back to 65 years ago, the battlefield saw almost 22,000 Japanese and 6,800 US soldiers lose their life during five fiercest weeks in February and March 1945.
Iwo Jima was renamed Iwo To that means Sulphur Island according to the request of former residents
Mr. Kan is the second Japanese P.M coming to the island after former P.M Junichiro Koizumi’s visit five years ago
The Americans occupied this island after the war and returned it to Japan in 1968
Mr. Kan set up a government team in August to ensure that the remains of 13,000 Japanese troops on the island can return to the mainland. However, recognizing remains is very difficult for the government. He also promised to contact the U.S government if any U.S soldier is found.
The iconic image of U.S troops raising the flag on the foot of Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945 was taken by Joe Rosenthal
Remains of Japanese soldiers are being collected from newly found mass graves
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan bowed at a mass grave site on Iwo Jima Island
Helmets and other belongings of Japanese soldiers laid in the dirty
Was the Battle for IwoJima Necessary?
Joe Rosenthal and the Flag-raising on IwoJima