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慰霊の日 沖縄戦の記憶、共有を

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 24
EDITORIAL: The meaning behind June 23 should be shared beyond Okinawa
(社説)慰霊の日 沖縄戦の記憶、共有を

Okinawa recalled its horrifying experiences in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa and consoled the spirits of the victims on June 23, the 71st anniversary of the end of the bloody warfare. June 23 is a prefecture-designated holiday marking the end of organized fighting by Japanese troops deployed to the southern island prefecture.
 沖縄はきのう、沖縄戦の犠牲者らを悼む慰霊の日を迎えた。

More than seven decades since the end of the devastating battle in the final days of the Pacific War, many scars are left unhealed in Okinawa.
 太平洋戦争末期の沖縄戦から71年。これほど長い時が過ぎてなお、沖縄では戦禍の傷口を見せつけられる。

U.S. military bases, for instance, occupy 10 percent of the prefecture’s land. Unexploded shells are still discovered frequently in various parts of the prefecture. The remains of the war dead are found in road construction sites.
 例えば、県土の10%を覆う米軍基地。県内各地で頻繁に見つかる不発弾の処理。そして、道路工事現場などから見つかる戦没者の遺骨だ。

More than 100 sets of remains are uncovered every year. In the last fiscal year, which ended in March, the remains of 103 bodies were discovered. The numbers for the preceding two years were 194 and 263, respectively.
 収骨された遺骨は昨年度が103柱、一昨年度は194柱、その前年度が263柱と、その数は毎年100柱を超す。

More than 200,000 people died in the Battle of Okinawa. By March this year, 185,224 sets of remains of Japanese war dead had been laid to rest at the national cemetery for people who died in the Battle of Okinawa in the Mabuni district of Itoman, the site of the last major fighting in the warfare, according to the prefectural government.
 沖縄戦では、20万人余が死亡した。県によると、そのうち日本人の遺骨は今年3月までに18万5224柱が収骨され、糸満市摩文仁(まぶに)の国立沖縄戦没者墓苑で眠っている。

The remains of nearly 3,000 Japanese victims have yet to be found.
それでもまだ3千柱近くが見つかっていないという。

In the Battle of Okinawa, 66,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians in the military services from other parts of Japan died along with 28,000 from Okinawa Prefecture. In addition, an estimated 94,000 non-military residents of the prefecture, or a quarter of the prefectural population, were killed.
 当時の軍人・軍属の死者は、県外出身者が6万6千人、沖縄県出身者は2万8千人。一般県民の死者は9万4千人と推定される。実に県民の4分の1が犠牲になった。

Although many remains are still waiting to be discovered, the task of gathering them has been left to private-sector volunteers. As a result, the work has been proceeding at a glacial pace.
 おびただしい遺骨があることはわかっているのに、収骨作業は民間ボランティア頼みで、なかなか進まなかった。

A law mandating the government to collect all remains of the war dead finally came into force in April.
In response, the government has decided to make intensive efforts to collect the remains over the next nine years. The government should take this opportunity to make up for lost time.
 ようやく今年4月、国に収骨を義務づける戦没者遺骨収集推進法が施行され、9年後までに集中的に収集することになった。これまでの遅れを取り戻してもらいたい。

The June 23 official memorial ceremony, sponsored by the prefectural government, was held at the Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni. But a spirit-consoling service was also held in front of the gate of Camp Schwab, a U.S. military base in the Henoko district of Nago.
 慰霊の日、摩文仁で開かれた県主催の全戦没者追悼式とは別に、名護市辺野古にある米軍キャンプ・シュワブのゲート前でも、慰霊祭が開かれた。

Immediately after the Battle of Okinawa ended, the U.S. military established an internment camp for Japanese civilians. Many residents of the prefecture, ranging from an estimated 20,000 to 40,000, spent several months in the camp. A number of civilian prisoners of war died in the camp from malaria, malnutrition and other reasons.
 沖縄戦直後、米軍がここに民間人の収容所を設置し、2万人とも4万人とも言われる住民が数カ月間、暮らした。その間、マラリアや栄養失調で亡くなる人が相次いだという。

The construction of Camp Schwab started around 1956. But a citizens group opposed to the proposed relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan in central Okinawa Prefecture to Henoko started holding the spirit-consoling service last year, believing there are still unfound remains within the camp.
 キャンプ・シュワブの建設は1956年ごろから始まったが、「遺骨はまだ残っているはずだ」と、米軍普天間飛行場の辺野古移設に反対する市民団体が昨年から慰霊祭を始めた。

With the law promoting the collection of war dead remains taking effect, the government has pledged to carry out such work in U.S. bases as well.
 遺骨収集推進法の施行を受けて、政府は米軍基地内の遺骨収集にも取り組むという。

The U.S. military should cooperate with efforts to ensure an early completion of the project.
米軍もぜひ協力し、一刻も早く収骨を実現してほしい。

People in Okinawa are still suffering from the excessive burden of hosting so many U.S. military bases within their prefecture. The central government has stuck stubbornly to the Futenma relocation plan despite strong opposition among people in Okinawa.
The prefecture was recently shocked by the arrest of a former U.S. Marine working as a civilian at the Kadena Air Base in the prefecture on suspicion of raping and murdering a 20-year-old woman. Her body was found in a wooded area after she went missing in late April.
 普天間飛行場の県内移設に向けた政府の強硬姿勢、米軍属による女性殺害・強姦(ごうかん)容疑事件の発生など、沖縄県民はいまも過重な基地負担にあえいでいる。

The suffering of Okinawan people due to the heavy U.S. military presence in the prefecture is inseparable from their memories of the Battle of Okinawa.
その苦悩は、沖縄戦の記憶と切り離すことはできない。

The central government and Japanese living in the mainland need to understand the full meaning of June 23 and reflect afresh on the history of suffering experienced by people in Okinawa.
 政府や本土の国民は「慰霊の日」の意味を共有し、沖縄が経験した苦難の歴史に、改めて思いを巡らす契機としたい。


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