Yokota, Japan Remember WWII Fallen during US-Japan Joint Memorial Service > US Indo-Pacific Command > 2015

SHIZUOKA CITY, Japan — Representatives from Yokota Air Base, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the city of Shizuoka attended a joint U.S.-Japan memorial service June 11, 2022, at Mt. Shizuhata, city of Shizuoka, Japan, to honor the dead and reflect on the acts of heroism presented following a raid on the city of Shizuoka during World War II.

In the early morning of June 20, 1945, two United States Air Force B-29 Superfortresses collided mid-air during an air raid over the city of Shizuoka. Both planes crashed into farmland, resulting in the deaths of 23 airmen aboard the aircraft.

Dr. Hiroya Sugano, the ceremony host, works each year to ensure U.S. forces can participate in the annual ceremony, to remember the lives lost in the crash and the sacrifices made in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Shizuoka City resident Fukumatsu Itoh searched the crash site for any signs of life and found two surviving American airmen in the wreckage who later died of their injuries. Despite the wartime environment, Itoh gave the two airmen proper burials alongside fallen Japanese citizens he was able to recover.

“As I reflect on the tragedy that occurred more than 75 years ago, I remember the courage shown by Japan to help American Airmen these days,” said Colonel Julie Gaulin, vice commander of the 374th Airlift Wing. “Mr. Itoh did not distinguish between the dead and the injured according to their origin or nationality. His selfless actions and compassion for humanity give us this immense opportunity to unite today as allies. and friends. Today we reflect on the profound example set by his heroism.

The U.S. and Japanese representatives paid their respects together by sharing remarks, laying flowers and making an offering of incense. According to tradition, attendees poured ceremonial bourbon over the shrine’s B-29 monument while Japanese attendees poured sake over the shrine’s Japanese monument.

“I personally believe that consoling and paying homage to the souls of all the dead, whoever they may be, is the first step towards international reconciliation and world peace,” Sugano said. “Each year, I pray that this ceremony will bring us one step closer to world peace.”

The joint ceremony is an opportunity for the United States and Japan to honor the sacrifices made during World War II, to strengthen and reflect on the strong alliance and bonds that the United States and Japan share today. today.