Japan's Emperor hopes ravages of war never repeated
Japan's Emperor Akihito hopes that the ravages of war will never be repeated.
IranPress/Asia: “Thinking of the peaceful times that have extended for many years after the war, reflecting on our past and with a feeling of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” Akihito, wearing morning dress and accompanied by a kimono-clad Empress Michiko, said at the ceremony for war dead.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also vowed never to repeat the horrors of war.
His remarks on Wednesday echoed those he first spoke on the 70th anniversary of the war’s end, in a subtle departure from previous comments that were seen by many liberals and moderate conservatives as a subtle rebuke to Abe. The prime minister has said future generations of Japanese should not have to keep apologising for the conflict.
Earlier on Wednesday (Aug 15), Abe sent a ritual offering to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, but did not visit in person out of apparent consideration for ties with Seoul and Beijing.
Past visits by Japanese leaders to Yasukuni have outraged China and South Korea because the shrine honours 14 Japanese wartime leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, along with war dead.
China’s relations with Japan have long been haunted by what Beijing sees as Tokyo’s failure to atone for its' occupation of parts of China before and during World War II, although ties have thawed recently.
Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945 and bitter memories still rankle.
On Wednesday, Abe vowed never to repeat the horrors of war. “I will humbly face the past and resolutely uphold this promise,” he said.
Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masahiko Shibayama, who made the offering at Yasukuni on Abe’s behalf, said the prime minister asked him to pray for the souls of the departed and that Abe regretted being unable to pay his respects in person.
Abe has only visited the shrine in person once since taking office in 2012. His December 2013 visit angered China and South Korea and prompted an expression of disappointment from ally the United States. Since then, he has sent offerings on Aug 15 and Yasukuni’s twice-yearly festivals.
Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese fought World War II, stopped visiting Yasukuni after the wartime leaders were first honoured by the shrine in 1978, and Akihito does not pay his respects there.