By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David R. Krigbaum
SASEBO, Japan (May 13, 2019) The 38th annual Kama Cemetery memorial service for the war dead was held May 12, 2019. Representatives from government and civic organizations within Sasebo City and Nagasaki Prefecture, including local U.S. naval forces at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo, participated in the ceremony.
CFAS was represented by Capt. Ed Thompson, Deputy Commander Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet.
"It was an honor to represent the U.S. Navy today at this memorial ceremony,” said Thompson. “It is a sobering reminder of our nations shared history, our current alliance, and our future hopes of peace. Kama cemetery is a special place that bears remembrance."
Kama Cemetery enshrines 4,822 Japanese civilian and military personnel who died during World War II. According to the Kama Cemetery Retention Association's cemetery history, the remains were originally buried at the Karunban prisoner-of-war camp in the Philippines but disinterred and returned to Japan in 1949.
They were accepted by the Japanese government at Hario Repatriation Center and cremated on-site over the course of a month with a nearby cemetery established for them. Today the cemetery is adjacent to CFAS Hario housing, which was the site of the crematorium.
The representatives laid flowers at the cenotaph during the ceremony. Nagasaki Vice Governor Susumu Satomi and Sasebo City May Norio Tomonaga were among those who spoke at the event.