Recently the NHK News On-line reported the following:
About 800 private citizens in the passenger ship " Taiyō Maru" died when it was sunk by U.S. forces during the Pacific War together with other ships; in order to identity the 4 private ships which were found to be sunk in the bottom of the East China Sea, a specialist group had started an investigation.
The investigation was begun by a group consisting of Tamaki Ura the special professor of Kyushu Institute of Technology, they arrived at the East China Sea approximately 170 kilometers southwest of Meshima in Nagasaki-ken at around 9:00pm on the 24th. They lowered sonar into the sea and began checking the situation at about 100 meters deep.
The aim was to confirm 4 private ships. Among these was " Taiyō Maru " which was a large passenger carrier made in Germany, it carried staff of different trading companies from various enterprises to an occupied area in Southeast Asia in 1942 and was sunk by a submarine of the U.S. forces, with 817 people perished. Based on a record of the Nippon Yusen which possessed "Taiyō Maru", the ship was thought to be sunk around the investigation spot.
When the existence of a ship was confirmed by sonar, it was expected to be checked by taking photos with an unmanned diving machine. In addition to "Taiyo Maru”, they would also try to photo "Rima Maru" the old army ship which was sunk in 1944 on its way carrying soldiers with about 2700 onboard killed. Also sunk in the same year was the "Seiron Maru” with approximately 130 people dead, and the ship "Fusei Maru" which was sunk in 1943.
The number of private ships sunk in the Pacific War was set at approximately 2500, and when sailors from fishing boats etc. were add up together, the record reached beyond 60,000 people. Besides sailors, there were records showing that the private citizen's death also reached approximately 60,000 people, but because it was being regarded as a military secret, it was say that the detailed reality of many cases could not be made clear.
It was decided to investigate the bottom of the sea for about 5 days, and after that it was said that pictures taken would be analyzed in great details.
Special professor Ura said that "I was invited by the family of the deceased and I'm going to investigate. May be it comes as a chance to tell something about a tragedy which almost no one have learned about its whole picture".
The research result would become an interesting piece of information on Japan’s WWII history.