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Speeches and Statements by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the 57th Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead

August 15, 2002

In the presence of Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan and with the attendance of bereaved family members of war dead and many distinguished representatives of all sectors of society, here today on the occasion of the annual Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead, I would like to say a few words on behalf of the Government.

Fifty-seven years have passed since the last war ended. In the fierce fighting more than three million Japanese lost their lives on the battlefield, succumbed to the ravages of war, or passed away in some distant foreign land after the war, reminiscent of their homeland and anxious about their families. We can never forget that the peace and prosperity that we currently enjoy are founded on the ultimate sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in spite of themselves. I offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of their souls, and from the bottom of my heart, I offer my genuine respect and appreciation to them.

During the war, 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 renew my feelings of profound remorse as I express my sincere mourning to the victims.

After the war, upholding peace as its national policy, Japan has overcome numerous difficulties and achieved startling development through the unremitting efforts of its people. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary since the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect and Japan regained its sovereignty. Firmly maintaining the nation's antiwar pledge, I will exert all my efforts so that Japan further develops its friendly relations with neighboring countries, and as a member of the international community, contributes to establishing lasting world peace and works toward realizing a society in which people are able to live fulfilling themselves. It is my conviction that the way for us to pay our respect to the war dead is to pass on to future generations a Japan that is peaceful and prosperous, as we humbly reflect on the past.

In concluding my address, I recall the still relentless, profound suffering and sorrow of the families of the war dead and offer my heartfelt prayers for their peace of mind.

Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan