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Japan, U.S. mark Iwo Jima battle anniversary

In this March 11 2013 phoreleased by Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) distributed March 12 2013 by KoreNews Service North

In this March 11, 2013 photo released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed March 12, 2013 by the Korea News Service, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, confers with military officers at a long-range artillery sub-unit of KPA Unit 641 during his visit to front-line military units near the western sea border in North Korea near the South's western border island of Baengnyeong. Kim urged front-line troops to be on "maximum alert" for a potential war as a state-run newspaper said Pyongyang had carried out a threat to cancel the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS) JAPAN OUT UNTIL 14 DAYS AFTER THE DAY OF TRANSMISSION

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TOKYO — Japan and the U.S. are marking the 68th anniversary one of the most iconic battles of World War II on the tiny island of Iwo Jima.

Representatives of the Japanese soldiers who died, government officials and a handful of U.S. veterans gathered Wednesday on the island to remember the battle that began on Feb. 19, 1945, and officially ended when the volcanic crag was declared secure by the U.S. on March 26, 1945.

The fighting claimed 6,821 American and 21,570 Japanese lives. About 12,000 Japanese and 218 Americans are still classified as missing in action.

The island, 700 miles south of Tokyo, is now uninhabited except for a small Japanese military outpost. It is now known in Japan as Ioto.

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