Mass suicides of WWII remembered in Okinawa

ZAMAMI, Okinawa - People, including bereaved families in Zamami, Okinawa Prefecture, paid silent tribute to those who died in mass suicides in the later stages of World War II at a memorial service in the village on Thursday morning.

Thursday marked the 70th anniversary since the US military landed on the Kerama Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. Zamami Island is part of the island chain.

About 10 per cent of the residents of the village were driven to commit mass suicide - with many families perishing in murder-suicide - after US troops landed on the islands on March 26, 1945. According to the Zamami municipal government, 617 people committed mass suicide on the Kerama Islands.