Japan marks the end of WWII, Kishida doesn’t mention aggression

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida renewed Japan’s no-war pledge in a solemn ceremony on Monday to mark the 77th anniversary of his country’s defeat in World War II, but Japan’s wartime did not mention aggression.

In his first speech since taking office in October, Prime Minister Kishida said, “I will firmly maintain my determination not to repeat the tragedy of war.”

Kishida did not mention Japanese aggression in Asia in the first half of the 20th century or the casualties in that region. This omission was a precedent set by the assassinated former leader Shinzo Abe, who pushed to cover up Japan’s wartime atrocities.

Kishida focused primarily on the damage Japan suffered. The US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the massive incendiary bombing of all of Japan, and the bloody ground battle of Okinawa. He said the peace and prosperity the country enjoys today is based on the suffering and sacrifice of those who died in war.

Beginning in 2013, Abe stopped acknowledging or apologizing for Japan’s wartime hostilities in his August 15 speech, breaking a tradition that began in 1995.

In his speech, Emperor Naruhito echoed in subtle phrases his “deep remorse” for Japan’s wartime actions. His father, Emperor Akihito, devoted his life to making amends for the war fought in the name of the wartime emperor, Hirohito. Grandfather of the current emperor.

At the ceremony held at the Budokan Arena, approximately 900 participants observed a minute of silence at noon. Crowds were down from around 5,000 before the pandemic, attendees were asked to wear masks and the national anthem was not sung.

Kishida refrained from visiting Yasukuni Shrine on Monday and sent religious ornaments instead, but three of his cabinet ministers said Economy and Security Minister Sanae Takaichi and Disaster Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba on Monday. and visited Minister of International Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura on Saturday.

“I paid my respects to the souls of those who gave their lives for national policy,” Takaichi told reporters, adding that he prayed that no more would die in Ukraine.

Victims of Japan’s actions in the first half of the 20th century, especially China and South Korea, view shrines as symbols of Japanese militarism to honor convicted war criminals among the approximately 2.5 million war dead. increase.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticized Nishimura’s visit, calling it “the Japanese government’s wrong stance on historical issues.”

Wang called on Japan to “deeply reflect on its history of aggression, handle relevant issues appropriately with a sense of responsibility, and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the wider international community through concrete actions.” rice field.