Japanese PM vows to find missing soldiers

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The Japanese prime minister, Naoto Kan, has vowed to find the remains of about 12,000 soldiers still missing on Iwo To (also known as Iwo Jima) more than 65 years after the island was the scene of one of the most deadly battles of the second world war.

Speaking at a ceremony in Tokyo to inter the remains of 882 people found on the island last year, Kan said the authorities would locate the missing men as soon as possible.

"Many fallen soldiers remain," he said. "We vow to find them as soon as possible. We will do all we can to organise searches for them."

The US marines' assault on Iwo To on 19 February 1945 marked the start of a fierce battle in which 21,570 Japanese soldiers – almost the entire military contingent on the island – and 6,821 American soldiers died. The 36-day campaign is the most costly battle in the history of the US marine corps....

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