A Japanese two-men research team carried out surveys on battle and burial ground sites for Japanese soldiers who fought and died during World War II in Solomon Islands.

Speaking at a press conference in Honiara, President of All Japanese Solomon Association, Toichiro Yasuda, acknowledged the local communities for the completion of their mission.

He said the two weeks mission was made possible due to the vast wealth of knowledge of the battle and burial sites by the community elders.

The 89-year-old team leader, Mr. Yasuda, a veteran soldier himself, said the mission identified thirteen burial sites in parts of the Western, Central Islands and Guadalcanal provinces.

Some 25,000 soldiers died during World War II, most of which were on Guadalcanal where the search was mainly focused.

According to the team leader, remains of nearly half of the soldiers have already been returned home, as search for remains of the other half continues.

Mr. Yasuda said his team will submit its report to the Japanese Government who will, in turn, dispatch an excavation mission to recover remains of Japanese soldiers for cremation and final burial in Japan.

The team will be arriving in the Solomons as early as March 2008, and the latest at the end of 2008, he said.

Mr. Yasuda urged the people in the communities for their continuous cooperation in assisting them in their search for bodies of their relatives to be sent back to their country.