On Monday, May 26, a Memorial Day program will be held at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, 950 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The event’s special guest is Lt. Yoshito Fujimoto (U.S. Army, retired). He translated the World War II Surrender Document signed on board the USS Missouri by Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu, chief of the army general staff, on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on Sept. 2,1945.
Fujimoto was not allowed to be on the Missouri for the signing and has never been recognized by the U.S. military for his tremendous historical contribution. Fortunately, at 96 years old, he is in great physical health.
Fujimoto, a member of the Kumamoto Kenjinkai, was a lieutenant in the Army during World War II. He was initially part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team but was recruited into the Military Intelligence Service. He served as the personal translator to Maj. Gen. Richard J. Marshall, who was the assistant to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and went with them when the war ended to assist in meetings with the Japanese government and to prepare for the U.S. military presence in Japan.
Other special guests include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is also a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and the keynote speaker, Capt. Tripp Hardy (U.S. Navy), commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. The program will be emceed by Brig. Gen. Ruth Wong (U.S. Air Force, retired), currently director of the L.A. County Military and Veterans Affairs.
Initiative by members of the L.A. National Cemetery Foundation made it possible for Fujimoto to be on the program to be honored for his historic role, and the Kumamoto Kenjinkai, Asian Business Association, and Go For Broke National Education Center have been invited to attend.
For more information about Fujimoto and for a seat (limited) on a bus that will leave from Maryknoll at 9 a.m., call Tamiko Hirano at (213) 247-8865.