Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Sixty-Eighth Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead
Thursday, August 15, 2013
In the gracious presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress and with the attendance of bereaved family members of the war dead and many distinguished representatives of all sectors of society, I hereby commence the annual Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead.
I deliver this address on behalf of the Government of Japan before the souls of those who fell on the battlefields thinking of their homeland and concerned about their families as well as the souls of those who perished amidst the destruction of the war and those who lost their lives in remote foreign countries during the aftermath of the war.
The peace and prosperity that we now enjoy have been built upon the sacrifices of you who gave up your precious lives while thinking of your beloved children and wives, praying for the happiness of the mothers and fathers you left behind, and wishing that the mountains and riversides of your hometowns would be lush with greenery. We will never forget this, even for a moment.
Words are entirely inadequate as we pray for peace and offer our thanks as we mourn the passing of these souls. I would now like to close my eyes for a moment and quietly bow my head, reflecting on this past.
Since the end of World War II, Japan has single-mindedly done its very best to follow a path of peace, placing value on freedom and democracy.
In order to transform the world into a better place, tomorrow even more so than today, Japan has been extending a hand of support to various countries and regions from not long after the war ended.
Domestically, we have arrived at the present day by helping each other out and overcoming socioeconomic changes and crises wrought by natural catastrophes any number of times.
We will carve out the future of this country as one full of hope, as we face history with humility and engrave deeply into our hearts the lessons that we should learn. We will make contributions to lasting world peace to the greatest possible extent and spare no effort in working to bring about a world in which all people are able to live enriched lives.
I will conclude my address by once again offering my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for the good health of the members of their bereaved families.
Prime Minister of Japan
August 15, 2013