18 Aug 2009

Japanese World War II remains from Saipan now at University of California

9:31 pm on 18 August 2009

The skeletal remains of several Japanese soldiers or civilians who died on Saipan during World War II are being kept at the University of California, Berkeley.

It's stirring controversy because of an apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that UC Berkeley admitting the skulls and bones removed from Saipan in 1945 by a Navy doctor are housed in storage shelves at a museum on the campus.

The admission, according to the paper, has sparked the fury of international law experts and anthropologists, who say the university has a legal and ethical duty to return the remains to Japan.

Both the US and Japanese governments have been making expeditions to World War II battlefields, including Saipan and other Pacific islands, to recover remains of their war dead.