Palau had been the headquarters
of the Japanese South Seas Colonial Administration since March 1922 when a civilian
administration took over complete administration from the Navy. This included
all of the islands mandated to them by the League of Nations after WW-I. Koror
became the capital island and with its fine harbors enclosed in a magnificent
barrier reef, it was an idyllic location from which to administer the Caroline and Marshall Islands.
Its value to the Japanese in the latter days of WWII was as a defensive position
from MacArthur's inevitable drive on the Philippines to satisfy his �I shall return�
promise. To this end they heavily fortified Peleliu and Angaur islands to the
south and made the Marine and Army invaders pay a heavy price for their capture.
north within the magnificent Palau barrier reef lay the islands of Koror and Babelthuap which
were not heavily defended since these were the civilian islands where most of
the Japanese and their imported laborers from Korea and Okinawa lived and farmed
the lands. The Japanese elected to defend only Peleliu and Angaur, to hobble the
Allies advance toward Japan.