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DPAA In The News

News 2 | May 6, 2024

US’ ‘unknown’ POWs were buried in a Japan mass grave 80 years ago. Can an American forensics team finally identify them?

By Julian Ryall, South China Morning Post

Nearly 80 years after 62 US airmen held as prisoners of war were buried in a mass grave after perishing in a fire that consumed the Tokyo Military Prison, a new effort is under way to identify their remains and bring closure to their families.

That complicated and time-consuming task falls to the historians, forensic anthropologists, archivists and recovery teams of the US Department of Defence’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).

“After World War II, US forces recovered more than 8,000 individuals who they were unable to identify and were subsequently buried in US cemeteries as ‘unknowns’,” said Dr Aelwen Wetherby, who is based at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and is one of the DPAA’s experts on its Tokyo Prison Fire Project.

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