Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 26, 2022

Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo Soto Dam Memorial Ceremony 2022

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Graham Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo

SASEBO, Japan -- Sasebo-based U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors, Sasebo City Hall, Sasebo City Water Bureau, and Yunoki District representatives met atop the scenic Soto Dam for the annual Soto Dam memorial ceremony, May 26, 2022

The annual memorial ceremony is held for the 53 American prisoner of wars (POWs) and 14 Japanese laborers who died building Soto Dam during World War II and is used as an opportunity for both countries to come together to commemorate the lives lost during its construction and reaffirm their bonds as friends and allies.

This is the second year in a row that the event has been able to be held since the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause of the celebration in 2020.

“Our ability to hold this important ceremony was impacted significantly over the last two years due to COVID-19, so I am especially pleased that we have been able to once again gather together today in remembrance and fellowship under the fewest restrictions and measures we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Capt. David Adams, Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo.

Soto Dam has served as a vital water source for Sasebo since its construction during WWII by approximately 265 American civilian construction workers imprisoned by the Japanese after the surrender of Wake Island on Dec. 23, 1941. The group was then transported to Japan to complete construction projects like the dam alongside Japanese laborers. The 53 American POWs and 14 Japanese laborers who died building the dam are memorialized today at the site by a large memorial tower, which was erected by Sasebo City and its citizens in 1956. On prominent display inside the tower is a brass plaque on which their names are engraved.

Among the locations benefiting from Soto Dam today is the Sasebo Nishi High School located nearby which receives its drinking water from the dam. Two students from the school, Akiho Moriyama and Mana Yamaguchi, participated in the ceremony, joining Adams and Sasebo City vice mayor Tomohisa Yamaguchi in laying flowers on the memorial site. Moriyama and Yamaguchi are part of a team of journalism students from their school who are producing a documentary on the history of Soto Dam and its continuing impact on the local community for a national competition.

“I commend their efforts wholeheartedly and believe that studying our past conflicts and histories of this kind enables us all to learn from our shared past, prevents us from repeating our mistakes, and is the key to a brighter future for everyone,” said Adams. “I greatly admire Mayor Yamanaka and the people of Sasebo for their ability to look past darker times and unpleasantness in our mutual history, enabling us to come together today in this beautiful place to commemorate the sacrifices of our countrymen, standing side by side as fast friends and strong allies.”

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
324,761
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...