TOKYO: Japanese Emperor Naruhito expressed “deep remorse” over the country’s wartime past while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged never to repeat the devastation of war as the nation observed the 75th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
“I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated,” Naruhito, 60, said at a ceremony for war dead. Naruhito, the grandson of Emperor Hirohito in whose name Imperial troops fought the war, is Japan’s first monarch born after the war. He ascended the throne last year after his father, Akihito, abdicated.
Naruhito, who together with Empress Masako has been largely absent from public view since Japan’s coronavirus outbreak worsened earlier this year, also expressed hope the country could come together to overcome the pandemic.
Abe, speaking at a ceremony, pledged never to repeat the devastation of war.
“Never to repeat the tragedy of war. We will continue to remain committed to this resolute pledge,” Abe said.
The ceremony was scaled down to less than one-tenth of last year’s size because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The legacy of the conflict still haunts Japan’s ties with its neighbors China and the two Koreas, where bitter memories of Tokyo’s military aggression linger.
Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine for war dead on Saturday, but avoided a personal visit that would anger China and South Korea.
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