ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The grandson of a Japanese colonel who died in a World War II battle on a far western Alaska island is requesting that soldiers’ remains be returned to their homeland.

KTVA-TV reports Nobuyuki Yamazaki made the request during a gathering at an Anchorage library Thursday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Attu.

The U.S. Army and Japanese troops engaged in May 1943 on the remote Aleutian island of Attu, which is now a federal wildlife refuge.

In statement read during the event and translated from Japanese, Yamazaki says more than 2,300 Japanese soldiers’ remains are on the island. He says their families want to bury them at home.

Refuge manager Steve Delehanty says returning the remains would be a major diplomatic and logistical undertaking but not impossible.

Information from: KTVA-TV,

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