Emperor, empress, Abe attend ceremony to mark 75th anniversary of WWII surrender
Aug. 15 06:02 pm JST 29 CommentsTOKYO
Japan on Saturday commemorated the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with the emperor and empress, the prime minister and a limited number of people attending a ceremony to mourn the war dead that was scaled back due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed not to repeat the tragedy of the war, saying, “We will never forget that the peace and prosperity we are enjoying today are built on the ultimate sacrifices of the war dead.”
Abe, who is eager to revise the postwar pacifist Constitution, did not refer to Japan’s wartime aggression, in line with his statements at previous memorial ceremonies since taking office in 2012.Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attend a memorial service marking the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo on Saturday. Photo: Carl Court/Pool via AP
Meanwhile, Emperor Naruhito, the country’s first emperor born after the war, made a rare public appearance amid the pandemic with his wife Empress Masako and expressed “deep remorse” during the annual memorial service, as he did last year.
“Looking back on the long period of postwar peace, reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated,” he said in his address.
With the coronavirus spreading across the country, the 60-year-old emperor who ascended the throne in May last year has postponed or canceled all of his regular regional tours.
A moment of silence was observed at noon for the approximately 2.3 million military personnel and 800,000 civilians who perished in the war, including those killed in the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“We need to pass on the memories of the tragedy and terror of war in which even innocent civilians can be involved, as well as the preciousness and importance of peace,” Hideo Sugiyama from Shizuoka Prefecture said at the ceremony, representing relatives of the war dead. Sugiyama, 82, lost his father in the Philippines.
Among the participants, the oldest attendee was 93-year-old Shoji Nagaya from Hokkaido, while the youngest was 12-year-old Yukika Ida from Gunma Prefecture.
The ceremony was held in Nippon Budokan, with around 540 people attending, the lowest on record since the government started holding the event in 1963 and less than 10 percent of the number last year, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The attendees wore masks, sat in chairs placed over a meter apart and did not sing when Japan’s national anthem “Kimigayo” was played as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
While limiting the number of attendees, the government livestreamed the ceremony on its YouTube channel for the first time.
Relatives of the war dead in 20 of Japan’s 47 prefectures did not attend the memorial service due to the virus spread, according to the ministry.© KYODOJ Trust Global Card will support your life in Japan!Anytime, anywhere, you can apply easily online! A credit card exclusively for foreigners living in Japan, such as international students and company employees.Learn More
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Thomas GoodtimeAug. 15 04:17 pm JST
Boooooooo. Peace and prosperity is not due to you though, Shinzo!5( +13 / -8 )