Tokyo, Aug 15 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he promised not to repeat the ravages of war, at a ceremony held in Tokyo in memory of those who fell in the conflict between 1939 and 1945.
The Japanese leader reaffirmed the pacifist character of Japan in his speech delivered Monday in commemoration of the Japanese capitulation at the end of World War II just 77 years ago, and in memory of the 2.3 million Japanese soldiers and 800,000 civilians who died in the contest.
“We will never repeat the ravages of war. We will continue to fulfill this firm commitment,” said Kishida in his intervention in the speech, before a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the fallen.
“In a world where conflicts still abound, Japan remains determined to uphold its proactive pacifism. Under this banner, we will join forces with the international community and do our best to solve the various problems we face,” Kishida said.
The ceremony was held in the Nippon Budokan pavilion with the attendance of 1,000 participants, including Emperors Naruhito and Masako, other political representatives of Japan and relatives of those killed in combat.
Attendees increased from just 200 who were present on the same date last year, due to restrictions over the pandemic, although it was well below the 5,000 who used to participate before the global health crisis.
On Aug. 15, the date Japan signed its World War II surrender a few days after suffering the first atomic attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kishida also sent an offering to the Yasukuni Shinto shrine, controversial for its links to Japan’s militaristic past.
The prime minister didn’t visit the shrine, as his predecessors have done since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the site at the end of 2013 and unleashed criticism from neighboring countries that suffered Japanese expansionism and even from the United States.
Yasukuni honors those who fell for Japan between the late 19th century and 1945, more than 2.4 million people, including 14 politicians and imperial army officers convicted as Class A war criminals after World War II.
Economic Security Minister Sanae Takaichi and Koichi Hagiuda, president of the ruling party’s influential Policy Research Council, visited the sanctuary Monday, two of the new appointments announced last week within the reshuffle of the Government Cabinet decided by Kishida. EFE