2 Bodies Identified 2 Weeks after Chopper Crash in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A helicopter takes off from the Maritime Self-Defense Force submarine rescue vessel Chihaya near Miyako Island, Okinawa Prefecture, in April 18.

TOKYO, April 20 (Jiji Press) — Two bodies recovered after a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter crashed two weeks ago into waters off an island in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa have been identified, the GSDF said Thursday.

The bodies were identified as those of Toru Niwata, a 48-year-old colonel who belonged to the headquarters of the GSDF 8th Division, and Hiroki Koso, a 34-year-old major, who was also a member of the headquarters.

They were recovered Sunday by deep-sea divers of the Maritime SDF from near what appeared to be the crashed GSDF chopper, which disappeared from radar near the prefecture’s Miyako Island on April 6.

Their identities were confirmed by their families and DNA analysis.

The GSDF is also working to identify three more bodies recovered from the site. A total of 10 people were aboard the UH-60JA helicopter, including Lt. Gen. Yuichi Sakamoto, who headed the 8th Division.