KOHIMA: A three-member Japanese delegation have taken samples of possible remains of Japanese soldiers who died in Nagaland during the Second World War (WWII) for identification through DNA testing, people familiar with the matter informed.
The samples of the remains which were found in Kohima village area before the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, were collected by a visiting team of Japan Association for Recovery & Repatriation of War Casualties (JARRWC) under the WWII remains recovery project of the Japanese government.
Meanwhile, an official bulletin said that the Japanese delegation called on the Nagaland chief secretary J Alam on April 22.
“The delegation expressed gratitude to the state government for the cooperation and support rendered to Japan in locating the remains of fallen Japanese soldiers during WWII. The team also briefed the state chief secretary on the progress made during past years. They also informed that the team will be taking samples of the collected remains to Japan for DNA testing in order to identify the remains,” the statement said.
Many Japanese soldiers were believed to have perished in the hands of the Allied Forces during the Battle of Kohima in 1944, which, along with the Battle of Imphal, are considered by military historians as the battles that changed the course of the WWII in Asia.
Besides land battle, the Allied Forces used the northeast region as an air route to supply arms and ammunition and food rations to its forces that were battling with the Japanese.
In 2014, a Joint Prisoners of war/missing in action Accounting Command (JPAC) team from the United States conducted an investigation in Nagaland looking for possible remains of aircrafts belonging to the Allied Forces that crashed or were shot down under the state’s territory with American nationals onboard. The JPAC, similar to the Japanese JARRWC, is a task force of the US government, set up to account for American nationals who went missing in action during the past wars across the world.
The two countries have reportedly sent their respective teams to the northeast region several times in the past as well to investigate the remains of the war.