Address by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
In the presence of Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan and with the attendance of bereaved family members of the war dead and many distinguished representatives of all sectors of society, I deliver an address, on behalf of the Government of Japan, here today at the opening of the 63rd Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead.
During the war more than three million people died, including those who fell on the battlefields and at the home front. Among the war dead were those who lost their lives during the aftermath of the war in remote foreign countries. Those people died wishing their homeland to prosper and thinking of their families. Moreover, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. On behalf of the people of Japan, I hereby express my feelings of profound remorse and sincere mourning for all the victims of the war.
The Government of Japan has been committed to a path as a peaceful nation throughout its post-war history and thereby attained peace and prosperity as the fruits of the ceaseless efforts made by each and every one of the people. We have never forgotten that the present peace and prosperity of Japan are built on the precious sacrifices made by those who lost their lives to the war. To live up to the many wishes of the war dead, we will continue to sincerely look back on the past without allowing the lessons of that horrible war to erode and to faultlessly hand down to the next generation historical facts.
We cannot deny that there is a trend of some powers unilaterally pursuing their interests, while parts of the international community face unstable situations these days. Despite these circumstances, we should move forward, indifferent to inward orientation and keeping our hearts open and eyes firmly focused on the world.
Today, on the 63rd anniversary of the end of the war, Japan renews its pledge not to engage in war and vows to stand at the fore of the international community as a Peace Fostering Nation in order to actively work toward the establishment of lasting world peace.
I would like to conclude my address by offering my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for the continued good health of the bereaved families of the war dead.
August 15, 2008
Prime Minister of Japan