Request to survey Battle of Okinawa remains in Camp Schwab sent to US embassy

September 6, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Takamatsu Gushiken, a representative of the volunteer group that collects remains from the Battle of Okinawa, Gamafuya, has requested permission to conduct a survey and collect the remains at the Ourasaki Internment Camp burial site in Camp Schwab, the U.S. military base in Henoko, Nago City. The request was sent via email to both the U.S. embassy as well as the U.S. military headquarters in Japan on September 5. Permission to conduct surveys and collect remain in the U.S. facilities is traditionally granted by the Japanese government. However, Gushiken requested permission from the U.S. military directly this time. Gushiken emphasized, “I want the U.S. military to recognize their responsibility in forcibly removing the residents and taking their freedom at the Ourasaki Internment Camp.”

As of 8 p.m. on September 5, there had not been a response from the U.S. military as to whether it would approve the request to conduct remains collections in Camp Schwab. In the written request, Gushiken stressed, “The residents were forcibly removed, and numerous people died due to lack of food, starvation and malaria. Such cruel deaths were institutionalized by the U.S. military in contravention of international laws.” He further claimed, “The collection of remains is not a domestic issue but an issue between the U.S. military and Okinawa.’”

Regarding Ourasaki Internment Camp, the Okinawa prefectural and the Japanese governments conducted an assessment based on a testimony from a woman in her 80s in June this year. However, no remains were found.
Gushiken stated, “The woman’s testimony was only about a part of the burial site and it is not fair to falsify findings from this partial area as the whole area. We are preparing new testimonies.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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