Battle of Okinawa remembered 79 years on

People in Japan's southern prefecture of Okinawa are remembering a fierce ground battle that unfolded 79 years ago in the closing stages of World War Two.

A ceremony was held on Sunday at the Peace Memorial Park in the city of Itoman, where the final battle was fought. Participants observed a moment of silence.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said, "I promise to all the victims of Okinawa that we are determined never to allow the ravages of war to happen again and to strive to achieve a world where everyone can live in happiness and peace."

The battle claimed over 200,000 lives, including roughly one-fourth of Okinawa's civilians.

Okinawa recognizes June 23, 1945 as the final day of organized combat between Japan's now-defunct Imperial military and US-led forces.

An Okinawa-based think tank suggests that the number of Okinawa residents who experienced the war is now less than 10 percent of the prefecture's population.