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Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the 61st Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead

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, here today we hold the annual Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead.

During the war, many people died on the battlefields, while many others perished amid the destruction of the war and during the aftermath of the war in remote foreign countries.

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 express my feelings of profound remorse and sincere mourning for all the victims of the war.

Sixty-one years have passed since the end of the war. We should reflect that the present peace and prosperity of Japan are built on the precious sacrifices made by those who against their will lost their lives to the war, as well as on the ceaseless efforts made by the Japanese people in the years following the war's end.

Furthermore, we should never forget that friendly relations between Japan and other countries and regions around the world have provided Japan with stability in the post-war world.

We have a responsibility to sincerely look back on the past as well as to hand down to the next generation the lessons of that horrible war and not allow them to erode.

Here today, based on its remorse over the war, Japan vows to uphold its pledge not to engage in war and to dedicate itself to the construction of Japan as a peaceful nation, while resolving to actively contribute toward the establishment of lasting world peace as a member of the international community. As a country that attaches the utmost importance to peace, Japan will do all it can to gain further trust from the world.

In concluding, I offer my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for the continued peace and good health of the bereaved families of the war dead.

August 15, 2006
Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan