TOKYO, August 15. /TASS/. Japan values peace and prosperity reached due to those who died in World War II and will never be a party to these conflicts, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo on Thursday at a ceremony commemorating the 74th anniversary of surrender.
“More than three million of our compatriots died in the previous war and I am praying for them with all my heart. We will never forget the fact that our peace and prosperity were due to those who lost their lives on battlefields. We remember lessons of history well and are devoted to the current peace and prosperity,” he said.
“To never repeat the horrors of war. This vow never changed in Showa and Heisei eras and will not be changed in the current Reiwa era either,” Abe pledged. “We will work with the international community to solve various problems it is facing to shape a new era of peaceful existence and hopes,” the prime minister added.
At the same time, this year, like previous once, did not see him mentioning Japan’s responsibility for the aggression against Asian countries in the war times. Abe’s predecessor specifically pointed out this fact in their speeches as prime ministers.
A minute of silence was declared after that in the Nippon Budokan hall, where the ceremony was held, followed by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s address to the nation. He expressed hope that the destructive war will never be repeated again and profound sorrow over the events of these years, adding that he was praying for peace in the world.
On July 26, 1945, governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and China adopted the Potsdam Declaration setting out the demands for unconditional surrender of Japan. On July 28, the Japanese government rejected the declaration.
The US then proceeded with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). On August 8, the Soviet Union announced that it was joining the war against Japan.
On August 15, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito delivered a radio address for his subjects, announcing that the country could no longer continue the war and was forced to accept the conditions of the Potsdam Declaration. The formal surrender occurred on September 2 onboard the USS Missouri battleship in the Tokyo Bay. September 2 is officially considered the day when World War II ended.
Japan lost 3.1 million people in the war with around 800,000 civilians among them, who died in the US bombings of Japanese cities and Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic strikes.