Vladivostok: Russia has handed over to Japan the remains of four Japanese soldiers who died on the Far-Eastern island of Sakhalin during World War II.
The remains were found there in the past two years. The soldiers died in August 1945 in central Sakhalin where fierce fighting between Soviet and Japanese troops was underway. From 1905 through 1945, the southern part of the island belonged to Japan and the northern part, to the Soviet Union.
The remains of the soldiers` bodies were handed over to a delegation of Japan`s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Galina Nikolskaya, the head of municipal administration of the Smirnykhovsky district where the ceremony took place, said the soldiers` remains had been cremated yesterday on the banks of the River Tumannaya.
Attending the ceremonies were soldiers and officers from nearby military bases and members of the Pioner volunteer association of pathfinders. All the appropriate military
honors were observed.
Today, the Japanese delegation was expected to deliver the remains to Tokyo.
The Soviet-Japanese land frontier followed the 50th parallel during World War II and the Japanese military built a stronghold defended by a contingent of about 5,000 people.
This stronghold was believed to be unassailable but Soviet soldiers seized it within the matter of just a few days.
A total of 2,500 or so servicemen on both sides fell in that combat operation, one of the last operations on World War II battlefields.
Igor Gorozhanov, the head of the Poisk association, said remains of about 400 soldiers of both sides have been found over the several years of searching in the Smirnykhovsky