Personnel Accounting Cooperation with Japan

July 27, 2017

Department of Defense Personal Accounting Cooperation Goals for 2017

  • Exchange information and maintain dialogue with the Embassy of Japan in Washington, Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) officials, and select Japanese non-governmental organizations regarding U.S. and Japanese World War II personnel accounting efforts.
  • Exchange information and maintain close coordination with U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) on all personnel accounting plans and activities involving Japan.
  • Engage Japanese MHLW officials about select U.S. World War II MIA cases as required.
  • As required, request permission to investigate, locate, and recover remains of missing American servicemen that are located in Japan or on Japanese territory. Continue to assist Japan in its World War II (WWII) remains recovery efforts in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Background

  • Following the end of WWII, the U.S. Army Graves Registrations Service conducted an extensive search for nearly 54,000 personnel missing in the Pacific and the Chinese-Burma-India Theaters of Operation. As required, the USPACOM Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) searches for and recovers WWII losses on Japanese territory.
  • The Government of Japan (GOJ), through the MHLW, and select non-governmental organizations (NGOs) conducts search and recovery operations throughout the Asia Pacific region. The MHLW coordinates all remains recovery activities on Iwo Jima with Japan’s Ministry of Defense.
  • In the past, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) hosted many official Japanese delegation visits to the U.S. In addition, JPAC has trained Ministry of Defense and police personnel in JPAC methodology. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) will continue to engage Japan’s MHLW as DPMO and JPAC have done in the past.

Activities

  • 2017: In July, officials from Japan’s National Defense Medical College visited DPAA in Hawaii to continue the ongoing discussion regarding cooperation in the area of forensic science.
  • 2017: In May, DPAA sent a team to meet with senior officials of the Government of Japan’s Cabinet, Diet, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Health, Labor, Welfare in order to discuss Japan’s establishment of a scientific system similar to DPAA’s accounting process.
  • 2016: In December, DPAA provided a tour of the Hawaii facility to Prime Minister Abe, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida, and the Minister of Defense Inada. Prime Minister Abe was provided an overview of laboratory operations and discussed continued cooperation between Japan and the United States.
  • 2016: In September, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Historical Preservation Office requested that DPAA and MHLW review and provide input to CNMI historical preservation policies to strengthen site and remains preservation of suspected Chamorro, Japanese, and U.S. remains from the excavation activities of third-party non-government entities conducting earthmoving activities in the Mariana Islands.
  • 2016: In August, DPAA Deputy Director hosted a tour of the DPAA facilities in Hawaii for a delegation of Japanese Upper House Diet Members that visited as part of the Japan-Hawaii Legislative Friendship Association.
  • 2016: In June, DPAA received an anthropological report regarding suspected U.S. remains discovered in Okinawa. After extensive analysis by University of the Ryukyus and National Defense Medical College scientists, the report was forwarded to DPAA via MHLW.
  • 2016: In June, DPAA coordinated a visit to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory on behalf of MHLW.
  • 2016: In March, DPAA Asia-Pacific Directorate coordinated with MHLW to gain approval to conduct a forensic review of human remains in the possession of the Japanese Embassy in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The remains had been recovered during Japanese personnel accounting activities in close proximity to U.S. losses. No suspected U.S. remains were discovered during the forensic review.
  • 2016: February, DPAA personnel met with Japanese MHLW representatives at the Embassy of Japan, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to discuss collaboration and information sharing regarding personnel accounting activities at sites where U.S. and Japanese missing personnel are assessed to be collocated.
  • 2016: In February, the new Consul General of Japan, Honolulu, Mr. Yasushi Misawa, along with officials from MHLW visited DPAA and received a DPAA update brief hosed by the DPAA Deputy Director. Additionally, the MHLW officials continued discussions with the AP directorate and received suspected Japanese remains that were in the possession of the DPAA laboratory.
  • 2016: In January, Japan put forth a proposal to the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct recovery efforts for the remains of Japanese soldiers, from World War II, on Attu Island. Proposed plan being reviewed by both parties.
  • 2015: In December 2015, at the invitation of the Government of Japan through the Government of the Republic of Palau, DPAA was invited to conduct a joint forensic review of suspected human remains recovered through Japanese recovery activities on Peleliu. No suspected U.S. remains were identified among the remains.
  • 2015: In June, July and August, MHLW representatives conducted WW II archival research at the Library of the Marine Corps at the Grey Research Center and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Facility in College Park, Maryland.
  • 2015: In May, two MHLW representatives met with DPAA east staff and conduct archival research at three U.S. Archives in the Washington Area: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Naval History and Heritage Command, and the Library of the Marine Corps at the Gray Research Center.


< Back to Fact Sheets