Japanese police help Ukraine with autopsies training

For the first time since Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, Japan has extended its offer of assistance to Kiev, which will help it train autopsy techniques.

According to a statement by Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) on June 28, Tokyo will support training for Ukrainian police in forensic techniques to quickly practice the post-mortem examination of dead bodies. in war.

Many Japanese officers with experience in identifying bodies after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami will participate in this training. In total, 10 senior officials from the forensic department of the Ukrainian National Police are expected to arrive in Japan as early as July 10 for training.

The Ukrainian government says there are tens of thousands of unidentified bodies in the country so far, and Kiev is said to be speeding up the identification work after it was suspended during a snowstorm. winter fall.

The offer for the training program came after Kiev contacted the Japanese Embassy in Ukraine through the United Nations Development Program, which asked Japanese experts to share their expertise. in identifying large numbers of bodies.

“In terms of numbers (mass autopsies), the Japanese police have experience and we believe we should assist,” an NPA official said.

During the training period, Ukrainian officials will visit the agency, the National Police Scientific Research Institute, the Fukushima Prefectural Police, and the Azabu station of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

The agency said Ukrainian officers will be trained in the process of mass autopsies and how to properly collect samples, as well as how to conduct effective DNA analysis.

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, by the end of February, Japanese police have completed 15,830 autopsies of the dead from Iwate prefectures, Miyagi and Fukushima, and identified 99.7% of them.

To perform so many autopsies in such a short period of time, the NPA sent a total of 25,000 experts from across the country to these 3 provinces in the 6 months following the disaster, during which time 14,632 bodies were recovered. identification.

The agency said that in identifying 15,777 disaster victims in three provinces, the most successful method was through physical characteristics and furnishings with a rate of 88.6%, followed by records. dental with a rate of 7.9%, fingerprints at 2.4% and DNA analysis at 1.1%.

Over time, as identification became increasingly difficult, the police created a DNA database from samples provided by the families of the missing and created a public “portrait” based on facial features and the face of the deceased.

The Ukrainian side also hopes to learn how Japan manages mental health care for family members to support those who have lost loved ones.

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