Address by Prime Minister Taro Aso
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, the Sixty-Fourth Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead is hereby commenced.
During the last war more than three million people died thinking of their homeland and concerned about the families they loved. They fell on the battlefields, suffered the ravages of war, or lost their lives during the aftermath of the war in remote foreign countries. In addition, 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 the victims of the war.
Sixty-four years have passed since the end of the war. The peace and prosperity of present-day Japan have been built upon the precious sacrifices made by those who lost their lives due to the war and the ceaseless efforts of the Japanese people since the war.
We must not forget that friendly relations with the countries and each region of the world have supported the stability of post-war Japan.
We must look back on the past in a spirit of humility and pass on the lessons of that horrible war to the next generation without allowing them to erode.
Here today Japan renews its pledge not to engage in war and vows to contribute actively towards the establishment of eternal world peace. As a nation that strives sincerely to achieve international peace, Japan shall spare no effort to gain still greater trust from the world.
I should like to conclude my address by offering my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for the good health of the bereaved families of the war dead.