581 Remains Collected from Siberia Possibly Not Japanese

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Sept. 19 (Jiji Press)--The remains of 581 people collected in Siberia and brought to Japan as those of Japanese who died while in detention in the region may be those of non-Japanese people, the welfare ministry said Thursday.

The remains were collected at a total of eight locations including the province of Irkutsk and the Khabarovsk region in Russia between 1999 and 2013, according to the ministry. They were determined probably to be remains of Japanese people buried at the locations, based on Russian records and testimonies of local residents.

At meetings held by the ministry from 2005 to this year, however, DNA testing experts had been pointing out that the remains may not be of Japanese origin, which the ministry has not disclosed.

The ministry investigated the remains collected since 1999 and found that 581 of such remains were likely to not be those of Japanese people.

"We took the remains home after receiving examination results from the Russian side saying they were of Japanese people," a ministry official said. "We don't think we ignored (the experts' suggestions), but we understand we can't be exempt from blame."

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