Japan marks 70 years of Second World War’s end

Tokyo: Japan on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of its surrender to the Allied forces which brought an end to the Second World War in 1945.

About 7,000 people, including relatives of Japanese military war casualties attended the national commemoration ceremony observing a moment of silence in the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, the Japan Times reported.

Exactly 70 years ago, the recorded voice of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, was broadcast over the radio nationwide to announce that Japan had surrendered to the US-led Allied powers.

The Second World War killed an estimated 3.1 million Japanese people as well as millions of victims in other parts of Asia invaded by Japan.

“I keenly feel deep grief again when I think of numerous people who lost their irreplaceable lives and their bereaved families,” Emperor Akihito said in a speech during the ceremony.

“Looking back at the past, with deep remorse over the war, I sincerely wish the calamities of the war will never be repeated,” he said.

Speaking at the ceremony in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan’s war dead “sacrificed their life for the future and the prosperity of our homeland”.

“Their sacrifice was the foundation of today’s prosperity and we shall never forget their contribution. We always reflect the past and we hate the horror of the war,” he said.

Tomomi Inada, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party; Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of female empowerment and gender equality; and internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi paid a visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.

Yasukuni is regarded by many countries as a symbol of Japan’s wartime militarism.

Yasukuni Shrine honours 2.46 million people who “dedicated their lives to the state,” mostly soldiers killed in Japan’s modern wars, but also enshrined are 12 Class-A convicted war criminals, including wartime Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, together with two other suspects who died in prison.