Museum throws open Battle of Okinawa

Mainichi Shimbun, 3 April 2000

NAHA—A new museum featuring documents on the Battle of Okinawa during World War II has opened in the city of Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture.

The archival materials include video-taped testimonies of the survivors and an exhibit depicting a battle scene in which the people of Okinawa are being forced by Japanese soldiers to evacuate a cave where they had sought shelter.

Okinawa was the only place in the nation that experienced ground fighting during the war. About one-third of Okinawa's population of 450,000 people died in the fighting.

The Battle of Okinawa, one of the final phases in the Allied forces' campaign against Japan, started April 1, 1945, lasted nearly three months and resulted in the deaths of 12,500 U.S. soldiers and 250,000 Japanese nationals.

The two-story museum has a total floor space of about 10,200 square meters, nearly 10 times that of the old archive. It stands in the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, next to the Cornerstone of Peace, on which the names of Japanese who died in the battle are inscribed.