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Japan marks 76th anniversary of World War II defeat

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Japan marked the 76th anniversary of its World War II give up on Sunday with a somber ceremony through which Prime Minister Yosihide Suga pledged for the tragedy of battle to by no means be repeated however averted apologizing for his nation’s aggression.

Suga mentioned Japan by no means forgets the peace that the nation enjoys at present is constructed on the sacrifices of those that died within the battle.

“We will commit to our pledge to never repeat the tragedy of the war,” he mentioned in his first speech on the occasion since turning into prime minister.

Suga didn’t supply an apology to the Asian victims of Japanese aggression throughout the area within the first half of the twentieth century — a priority set by his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who was often accused of attempting to whitewash his nation’s brutal previous.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga walks previous Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to ship a speech throughout a ceremony to mark the 76th anniversary of Japan’s give up in World War II at Nippon Budokan corridor in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Toru Hanai/Pool through AP

In a largely domestic-focused speech, Suga listed harm inflicted on Japan and its folks, together with the U.S. atomic assaults on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the firebombing of Tokyo and different cities and the fierce battle of Okinawa, and mourned for them.

Emperor Naruhito, in distinction, expressed “deep remorse” over his nation’s wartime actions in a rigorously nuanced speech that adopted the footsteps of his father, who devoted his 30-year profession to creating amends for a battle fought within the identify of Hirohito, the present emperor’s grandfather. Naruhito additionally mentioned he hoped that individuals can put their hearts collectively to beat the problem of the pandemic whereas looking for happiness and peace for all.

Amid Tokyo’s surging coronavirus infections, about 200 individuals, diminished from about 6,000 earlier than the pandemic, mourned for the lifeless with a minute of silence. Masks had been required, and there was no singing of the nationwide anthem.

Suga vowed to cooperate with the worldwide group in tackling world points below “proactive pacifism,” a imaginative and prescient that Abe promoted to permit Japan to play a larger navy position in worldwide conflicts.

Beginning 2013, Abe stopped acknowledging Japan’s wartime hostilities or apologize in his Aug. 15 speeches, scrapping a virtually 20-year custom that started with the 1995 apology of Socialist chief Tomiichi Murayama.

On Sunday, earlier than attending the ceremony at Tokyo’s Budokan corridor, Suga laid flowers at a close-by nationwide cemetery for unknown troopers. While Suga stayed away from controversial Yasukuni shrine, he did ship a non secular providing to the shrine, Japanese media reported.

Victims of Japanese actions through the first half of the twentieth century, particularly the Koreas and China, see the shrine as a logo of Japanese militarism as a result of it honors convicted battle criminals amongst about 2.5 million battle lifeless.

Abe, who stepped down as prime minister final yr, prayed on the shrine Sunday, and so did three different members of Suga’s Cabinet. Two different ministers visited the shrine Friday.

The visits sparked criticism from China and South Korea.

On Sunday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry in an announcement urged Japanese officers to point out “sincere remorse through action” in order that the international locations may develop “future-oriented ties.”

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