Calls Growing to Open Okinawa WWII Command Bunker to Public

Society Culture

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Aug. 14 (Jiji Press)---With battle sites becoming harder to preserve 75 years after the brutal Battle of Okinawa, calls are growing to open to the public a local bunker used by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army.

The Okinawa prefectural government has decided to consider once again whether to put the site on public view, though it previously maintained such a move is difficult partly due to safety concerns.

The bunker was built as the command headquarters for the defunct military’s 32nd Army in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture. The unit was formed in 1944 in the final stages of the Pacific War, part of World War II, to lead the Japanese military operations in the southernmost prefecture.

The Battle of Okinawa claimed 200,000 lives, including civilians and Japanese and U.S. soldiers. Local residents and students were also mobilized for the operations to delay a land battle on mainland Japan.

The underground command headquarters, located under Shuri Castle, was used until May 1945, when the Imperial Japanese Army retreated to the southern Okinawa Island.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press