Tokyo — Japan held a solemn ceremony on Sunday to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the surrender of World War II, with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowing not to repeat the tragedy of the war.
Mr. Suga said he would never forget that the peace that Japan enjoys today is built on the sacrifices of those who died in the war.
In his first speech since he took office, he said, “I promise not to repeat the tragedy of war.”
Suga did not offer an apology to the Asian victims of Japan’s aggression in the region in the first half of the 20th century-a precedent set by the country’s former leader, Shinzo Abe.
In his speech, which focused mainly on the domestic market, Mr. Suga mentioned the damage done to Japan and its people, such as the atomic bombings of the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the firebombing attacks on Tokyo and other cities, and the Battle of Okinawa. I mourned them.
In contrast, Japan’s head of state, Emperor Akihito, addressed his country’s wartime actions in a speech in the footsteps of his father, who devoted his 30-year career to the atonement of the war that fought in the name of Emperor Showa. He expressed “deep remorse”. The grandfather of the current monarch. Emperor Imagami also said that he wants people to be able to unite their hearts to overcome the difficulties of a pandemic, seeking the well-being and peace of all.
About 200 participants, down from about 6,000 before the pandemic, mourned the dead with a minute of silence. I needed a mask and there was no national anthem song.
Suga is working with the international community on global issues under the vision of “proactive pacifism,” which Prime Minister Abe promoted to enable Japan to play a greater military role in international conflict. I vowed to work on.
Before attending the ceremony at the Budokan in Tokyo on Sunday, Suga bloomed in a nearby national cemetery for the Unknown Soldier.
Prime Minister Abe, who resigned last year, prayed at Yasukuni Shrine on Sunday. The same was true for the other three Suga cabinets. Two other ministers visited the shrine on Friday. According to the Sankei Shimbun, Suga did not visit and sent ceremonial offerings through his secretary.
The Yasukuni representative declined to comment on whether the Prime Minister sent offerings. At Suga’s office, no one was able to comment immediately outside of normal working hours.
Yasukuni Shrine has sparked tension in honor of 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 World War II leaders convicted as “class A” war criminals. .. Koreans are still fighting for Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, but Chinese continue to resent the invasion of Japan and the occupation of some parts of China from 1931 to 1945.
Many Japanese pay homage to the relatives of the shrine, and conservatives say leaders should be able to commemorate the war dead. However, China, North Korea and South Korea have expressed opposition, given that war criminals are among the honored people in Yasukuni.
The shrine saw a constant stream of early morning visitors, including families with children and people in military uniform, in the face of sustained rains in Tokyo and the recent surge in coronavirus cases.
Reuters contributed to this report