Address by Prime Minister Naoto Kan
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 would like to commence here the annual Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead.
Sixty-six years have passed since the end of the war. During hard fought battles under the extreme conditions, more than three million people, thinking of their homeland and concerned about their families, fell on the battlefields, suffered the ravages of war, or lost their lives during the aftermath of the war in remote foreign countries. Thinking with regret of the many who perished, even today I am filled with unending feelings of anguish. I sincerely pray once more that they rest in peace.
I also express my deep respect for the bereaved family members who have endured the sorrow brought on by the loss of their beloved blood relatives and overcome many hardships.
During the last war, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. I hereby express my feelings of profound remorse and sincere mourning for the victims of the war and their bereaved family members.
Here today, Japan renews its pledge not to engage in war and vows once more to spare no effort for the establishment of eternal world peace. We will sincerely look back on the past, hand down the lessons of that horrible war, and deepen our kizuna - the bonds of friendship - with the people of the world as a peaceful nation.
The Great East Japan Earthquake in March this year took many lives, destroyed many hometowns, and wrecked countless tranquil lifestyles. The disaster-stricken areas are now exerting every effort for recovery and reconstruction. Japan is a country that was able to recover from the ravages of World War II and overcome countless hardships thanks to the hard work of each and every Japanese citizen. With such an experience behind us, I am confident that we will absolutely be able to revitalize the affected regions and the entirety of Japan. This, I believe, is what those who sacrificed and worked so hard for this country in the past, would have wanted.
In concluding my address, I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for continued peace and good health for their bereaved families.
15 August 2011
Prime Minister of Japan