25 Apr 2009

Remains of Japanese soldiers found on PNG's Kokoda returned to Japanese govt

9:42 am on 25 April 2009

The remains of four Japanese soldiers found on Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track have been handed over to the Japanese government.

The small private ceremony yesterday was conducted in Port Moresby more than 65 years after Australia and Japan fought in PNG during World War II.

The fiercest fighting happened along the Kokoda Track, an arduous 96 kilometre trail that runs through the Owen Stanley Range, where more than 600 diggers and thousands of Japanese were killed.

Wayne Weatherall, from Kokoda Spirit trekking company, found the skeletons early last year at Mt Bellamy, the highest point along the track.

It took more than a year to get permission from Japanese and local landowners to remove the remains.

Susumu Kiyosawa from the Japanese Embassy in PNG said they were pleased by the discovery.