Wreckage of Japanese warplane arrives in southwestern Japanese town of Usa for preservation

USA, Oita – Wreckage of a former Imperial Japanese Navy torpedo bomber that was recovered after the plane crashed off Tanegashima Island in the southwest of the prefecture from Kagoshima in Japan during World War II arrived in the United States, Oita Prefecture, on July 30 for preservation.

The Type 97 three-seater torpedo bomber is expected to be exhibited in the future in the United States, from where it may have originally taken off, as a cultural asset to convey the importance of peace and life.

On the day that the wreckage arrived at the “Usa Ku no Sato” peace museum in the city of Usa, a wreath laying ceremony for the war dead was held. The United States municipal government will soak it in a city swimming pool for about three years to desalinate it and aims to exhibit it at the Peace Museum.

A piece of the plane is seen in Oita Prefecture, US on July 30, 2021. (Mainichi / Katsuyuki Miyamoto)

The wreckage includes part of the tail wheel, tail surface, wing and cockpit, which are approximately 6.5 meters long and 2.8 meters wide. They were transported to the museum in two 10 ton trucks.

The parts of the plane were found about 300 meters north of Kishigasaki, the northernmost tip of Tanegashima Island, in 2015, and the Japan Association for the Recovery and Repatriation of War Victims recovered the wreck in June in an effort to recover any human remains that could be found.

According to the United States municipal government, no dead remains or objects indicating which military unit the plane belonged to were found inside, although objects such as industrial tools were recovered. Ownership of the wreck has been transferred from the Japanese government to the salvage workers. It was then sold to the United States municipal government for 36,300 yen (approximately $ 330).

The city of Usa was the location of the United States Imperial Japanese Navy air service training base. With a military unit from Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan, the Air Service in 1945 assembled suicide bombing fleets, which then moved to the Kushira base in the prefecture. from Kagoshima, then flew on a mission. The recovered torpedo bomber could be one of the planes that took off from the air service facility in the United States.

The Usa Ku no Sato Museum is located on the former site of the main gate of the air service facility. In his speech at the wreath-laying ceremony, Mayor Shuji Korenaga said, “We will convey the tragedy of wars and the importance of peace while bearing in mind that peace and prosperity are based on sacrifice. ultimate of the war dead. The attendants then observed a moment of silence and offered flowers, and looked at the wreckage of the plane with deep emotion.

“I feel like he came back as a storyteller,” said Soei Hirata, 72, leader of the “Toyo No Kuni Usa-shi Juku” citizen group. “Across the plane, I would like to listen to the thought of the crew that ‘peace is important’.”

(Japanese original from Katsuyuki Miyamoto, US local office)


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