TOKYO — Japan's prime minister vowed at a memorial ceremony Tuesday to find the remains of the estimated 12,000 soldiers who are still missing from the battle of Iwo Jima, one of the bloodiest and most symbolic campaigns of World War II.
Naoto Kan, who has set the ongoing search for Iwo Jima's dead as a top government priority, made the comments at a ceremony to inter 822 sets of remains recovered last year — the largest annual figure in four decades.
"There remain many fallen soldiers," he said. "We vow to find them as soon as possible. We will do all we can to facilitate searches for them."
The number of remains has increased dramatically because of the discovery of two grave sites on the tiny island, now known as Ioto, which was what it was called by residents before the war.