8 November 2019
Josephine Stone AM, member of the Australian War Memorial Council at the Japanese War Cemetery. Established in 1964, this is the only Japanese War Cemetery in Australia. There are 523 graves at the Cemetery, containing the remains of the 231 Japanese soldiers who were killed in the 1944 Cowra Breakout and all Japanese Nationals who died on Australian soil during World War II including those involved with the battle of Darwin. The land was ceded to Japan in 1963. A large black granite monument dominates the Cemetery and the burning of incense, wreaths and gifts can be seen at the Cemetery after Official Functions. Prior to 1964, the Japanese Cemetery had been cared for in an informal way by members of the Cowra RSL Sub-Branch, who kept the lawns mowed and the weeds in check. This was done as a mark of respect for the fallen soldiers at a time when there were mixed feelings concerning the Japanese. The Japanese War Cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission through the Australian Government’s Department of Veterans Affairs.