Wednesday, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 July 2019

Wednesday, 14 Zulqaidah 1440 / 17 July 2019

20 thousand of our soldiers skeletons in Papua: Japan

Rabu 26 Jun 2019 11:38 WIB

Red: Ani Nursalikah

Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Ishii Masafumi (left) with the Director General of Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Hilmar Farid after signing a memorandum of understanding on the repatriation of the skeletons of Japanese soldiers in Papua and West Papua, in Jakarta, Tuesday.

Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Ishii Masafumi (left) with the Director General of Culture of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Hilmar Farid after signing a memorandum of understanding on the repatriation of the skeletons of Japanese soldiers in Papua and West Papua, in Jakarta, Tuesday.

Foto: Republika/Inas Widyanuratikah
The Japanese government would like to bring back the skeletons.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Nearly 20 thousand skeletons of Japanese soldiers who died during World War II are still buried in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Ishii Masafumi has claimed.

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The figure was based on data released by the Japanese government, but the exact number will certainly depend on the results of a further study in the field, he said, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indonesian government on extending the repatriation of skeletons Tuesday.

As a follow up to the MoU, the Japanese government will soon send a team to kick-start the process in cooperation with the Indonesian government and local administrations, he said. He expressed the hope that the team would start working by next year.

Asked about the budget required to repatriate the remains of the soldiers, he said his government will assess the extent to which the activity needs to be carried out. However, the repatriation which is presently at a standstill will be resumed soon.

He said the Japanese government would like to bring back the skeletons which have been in the two provinces for more than 70 years.

Meanwhile, Director of Cultural Reserves and Museums of the Education and Culture Ministry Fitra Arda said he did not know have an exact estimation of the number of skeletons of Japanese soldiers in Papua and West Papua. "We don't know their number and only after the excavations will we know that. But more importantly, the agreement must involve the local community," he said.

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