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On WW2 anniversary, Japan vows not to repeat war

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a speech during a memorial service marking the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II at the Nippon Budokan hall on August 15, 2020 in Tokyo.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking on the 75th anniversary of Japan's World War Two surrender, pledged never to repeat the tragedy of war and Emperor Naruhito expressed “deep remorse” over the wartime past, which still haunts East Asia.

“Never to repeat the tragedy of war. We will continue to remain committed to this resolute pledge,” said Mr. Abe, wearing a face mask at an official ceremony for war dead on Saturday that was scaled back because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mr. Abe, who did not echo Emperor Naruhito's reference to remorse, sent a ritual offering to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine for war dead.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako bow as they attend a memorial service marking the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II at the Nippon Budokan hall on August 15, 2020 in Tokyo.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako bow as they attend a memorial service marking the 75th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II at the Nippon Budokan hall on August 15, 2020 in Tokyo.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

At least four Japanese cabinet ministers paid their respects in person at Yasukuni, which honours 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, as well as Japan's war dead. The shrine is seen by Beijing and Seoul as a symbol of Japan's past military aggression.

Shuichi Takatori, a member of ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters he made the offering on behalf of Mr. Abe as party leader, delivering a message that Mr. Abe “paid his respects from the heart to the war dead and prayed for the rest and permanent peace of their souls.”

Mr. Abe has not gone to Yasukuni in person since a December 2013.

Thousands of men and women braved scorching heat amid the COVID-19 pandemic to pay their respects at Yasukuni, where queues quickly became congested, despite markers and signs seeking to maintain social distance. Many people stood in long queues for hours, holding parasols to block the sun in heat over 35°Celsius.

“I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated,” Emporer Naruhito said at the official ceremony after bowing together with Empress Masako before an altar in front of a bank of flowers. Both royals also wore face masks.

The grandson of Emperor Hirohito in whose name Imperial troops fought the war, Emperor Naruhito is Japan's first monarch born after the war.


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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 2:00:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/on-ww2-anniversary-japan-vows-not-to-repeat-war/article32361580.ece

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