On Saturday, Japan marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in the Second world war. Deep remorse was expressed by Emperor Naruhito over the wartime actions of his country at a somber annual ceremony which was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Naruhito pledged to reflect on the events of the war and expressed his hope that such a tragedy will never again be repeated. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no words of apology. He thanked the sacrifices of the Japanese war dead but said nothing about the sufferings of the neighbors of japan. 

In a short speech at the even in Tokyo, Naruhito said that reflecting on their past and bearing the feelings of deep remorse, he earnestly hoped that the ravages of war will never be repeated. The event organized in Tokyo marked the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Japan on August 15,1945. 

There were 500 participants at the event, reduced form 6,200 last year. They mourned the death of so many people with silence. There was no singing of the “Kimigayo” national anthem and masks were required. 

Naruhito’s father devoted his 30-year career to making amends for a war fought in the name of Hirohito, grandfather of Naruhito. Naruhito has promised to follow the footsteps of his father. 

Since taking office in December 2012, Abe has increasingly sought to whitewash to the brutal past of Japan. During 15 August speeches, Japan’s wartime hostilities have not been acknowledged by him. This acknowledgement had been a 20-year-old tradition which began first with the apology of Socialist leader Tomiichi Murayama in 1995. 

In a largely domestic-focused speech, Abe said that the sacrifices of those who dies in the war has produced the peace which Japan is enjoying today. Abe pledged that the lesson from history will be reflected on by Japan and the war devastation will not be repeated by it. 

Abe enlisted the damage inflicted on Japan and its people including the US atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, fierce battle of Okinawa, and massive fire bombings of Tokyo. 

A greater role in tackling global problems was pledged by Abe. Abe has steadily pushed to cleanse Japan of its embarrassing wartime history and build up on its military by stretching the interpretation of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution under his goal of turning Japan into a “normal” and “beautiful” nation. 

This includes acquiring greater missile defense capability in the face of a growing military threat form China and North Korea. 

A Tokyo shrine that honors convinced war criminals among the war dead was not visited by Abe. A religious offering, a gesture that was meant to avoid angering South Korea and China, which consider the Yasukuni shrine as a symbol of the militarism of Japan was sent by Abe. 

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