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Tuesday, 23rd June 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan commemorates Battle of Okinawa

Japan has marked the 64th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Okinawa with a memorial service on the southern island.

The Mainichi Daily News estimated that 4,500 people were in attendance to mark the annual ceremony, among them prime minister Taro Aso and Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima.

Okinawa was the site of one of the most violent and gruelling battles of the second world war in the Pacific, with causalities totalling more than 200,000,

Since that time, unexploded ordnance has been a lingering problem for inhabitants, with 3,000 tonnes of dud bombs still estimated to lie under the island's ground.

The island has also been used as a focal point for US military activity in the region, leading Prime Minister Aso to express his desire to ease the burden placed on residents by the ongoing American presence.

It is estimated that more were killed in the Battle of Okinawa than in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Written by Graham McPherson

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