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Japan marks 68th anniversary of war’s end
Publication Date : 16-08-2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Emperor conveyed messages of peace at an annual memorial service held Thursday to mark the 68th anniversary of the end of World War II.
About 6,000 people, including the Imperial Couple, bereaved family members and representatives of various sectors, attended the ceremony held at the Nippon Budokan hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, to honour about 3.1 million Japanese people who died in the war.
Among the ceremony’s attendees were 4,672 bereaved family members, whose ages ranged from 10 to 99, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. Sixteen women who lost their husbands in the war were scheduled to take part in the ceremony. The number was down sharply from 85 such women in 2008, when it went below 100 for the first time.
On the other hand, the number of grandchildren of war dead increased to 209 from 145 last year, underscoring the rapid generational change among participants.
After the arrival of the Emperor and Empress, participants sang the national anthem. Then Abe delivered an address, saying: “The peace and prosperity that we now enjoy have been built upon the sacrifices of you who gave up your precious lives. We will carve out the future of this country as one full of hope, as we face history with humility and engrave deeply into our hearts the lessons that we should learn.”
After the noontime signal, participants offered a one-minute silent prayer for the repose of the souls of the war dead.
The Emperor said, “With an earnest hope that the tragedy of war will never be repeated again, I would like to pay tribute to those who laid down their lives on the battlefield, as well as those who lost their lives during the war, praying for world peace and the further development of our nation from the bottom of my heart.”
3 ministers visit Yasukuni
Three Cabinet members paid their respects to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Thursday, the 68th anniversary of the end of the war for Japan.
The three ministers are National Public Safety Commission Chairman Keiji Furuya, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo and Tomomi Inada, minister in charge of administrative reform, who is also the chairman of a group of conservative members of the Liberal Democratic Party.
“I visited in a private capacity and of my own accord. In absolutely no way was it my intention to cause a stir,” said Shindo following his visit to the shrine.
The shrine, which honours Class-A war criminals together with the war dead, is regarded by China and South Korea as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.
Afterwards, Furuya said he made the visit as a state minister, adding that his decision is not one to be criticized or meddled in by a foreign country.