Photo/IllutrationPart of the base of a building remains at the former site of the Cowra No. 12 prisoner of war compound in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia, on Aug. 4, 2014. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

CANBERRA--Researchers have created a database of hundreds of Japanese who died in custody and were buried in a cemetery in Australia during World War II.

The purpose of the database is to enable bereaved families of prisoners of war and other detainees to “find clues” to the whereabouts of their remains.

Many Japanese families apparently do not know that their loved ones died in the country.

The project was led by Keiko Tamura, an honorary senior lecturer studying Japanese immigrants to Australia at the Australian National University.

At the Japanese Embassy here on April 18, Tamura said that she and her colleagues examined records and other documents kept at the National Archives of Australia for the project.

The names of Japanese POWs and detainees, their addresses in Japan, why they were imprisoned or detained, their causes of death and other details are available both in Japanese and English on the database.

The database of 524 individuals includes victims of the Cowra breakout.

In August 1944, 1,100 Japanese soldiers at a POW camp in Cowra, southeastern Australia, tried to escape. More than 230 of them were fatally shot or killed themselves.

Following the end of World War II, a cemetery for the Japanese war dead was set up near the former site of the POW camp to bury 524 POWs and detainees. However, the public had difficulty gaining access to personal information of the dead.

The database will be made available on the Internet at ( on May 10 at the earliest.