Kurata: Kuentai mission to repatriate remains hindered by lack of permits

The Kuentai organization’s efforts to repatriate the remains of their countrymen back to Japan are being stymied by the myriad of permits being required by the CNMI government.

Kuentai secretary general Usan Kurata said that they have found over 800 Japanese remains but cannot bring them home to Japan because of all the permits that they were not granted.

Speaking during the Kuentai’s second memorial service last Friday at the Aqua Resort Club parking area, Kurata said he and his team need the support of the local government to carry out their mission, which is to exhume the remains of fallen Japanese soldiers, bring them home to their families, and lay them to rest.

In all the years that that Kurata and his team have been on Saipan, he has helped many farmers in the northern area cultivate their land. He said he stumbled upon so many Japanese remains just by cultivating land.

According to Kurata, it broke his heart that he was not able to do anything about the remains, but put them back where they were found because they do not have the permits to take them home.

Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero (R-Saipan) said he sympathizes with the organization and that he will look into the situation and do what he can to help find a solution to the problem and to help Kuentai with its mission.

Guerrero said no one should deprive the Kuentai organization of the remains of these fallen Japanese soldiers. According to Guerrero, these remains should be sent home after years of being buried in a foreign land.

According to Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, the Kuentai organization wants only to bring home the remains of Japanese soldiers and to let them rest in peace with their family.

Apatang hopes that the government will help the organization fulfill its mission.

Kimberly A. Bautista Author

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