See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Politics

Akihito marks final war-end anniversary

Japan marked the 73rd anniversary of the end of World War II on Wednesday.


Written by

Updated: August 16, 2018

The ceremony held by the government at the Nippon Budokan hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, was the last of its kind in the Heisei era, as the current Emperor is set to abdicate on April 30 next year.

About 6,800 people, including the Imperial couple, bereaved relatives, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and representatives of various fields, attended the ceremony to commemorate the about 3.1 million war dead.

At noon, the participants observed a minute of silence. The Emperor then gave an address in which he used the phrase “deep remorse,” saying he was looking back on the long period of postwar peace. The Emperor first used that phrase in 2015, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, and has now used it for the fourth straight year.

The Emperor has attended the ceremony every year together with the Empress since he assumed the throne in 1989. This was his 30th year of attendance.

Abe said in a speech at the ceremony: “We will never again repeat the devastation of war. Humbly facing history, we will remain committed to this resolute pledge, no matter what the era may bring.”

There has been a generational shift among the families of the war victims. According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, no parents of the war dead were among the 5,455 family members attending the national ceremony, a situation seen for the eighth straight year.

The number of wives of war victims stood at 13 this year, compared to 3,269 at the 1989 ceremony. The number of children at this year’s ceremony was 2,864, while that of grandchildren was 451.

By age, attendees aged 80 and older accounted for 19.4 percent of the total, or 1,056 people, up 2.7 percentage points from the previous year. The number of attendees born after the war hit a record high of 1,554, making up 28.5 percent of the total. The oldest participant was 102 and the youngest was 2.

Harumi Serigano of Nerima Ward, Tokyo, who was the oldest participant in the ceremony for the second straight year, remembered her husband, who was killed in the Battle of Okinawa at the age of 31. “We must never repeat the war,” she said.

According to the ministry, 2.3 million Japanese military personnel and employees lost their lives from the start of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 to the end of World War II in 1945, as well as during internment in Siberia. The number of civilian deaths in the same period was about 800,000.

Peace wish gets new phrase

The Emperor underscored the importance of the “peace” that has lasted for 73 years since the end of World War II by adding a new phrase in his address at this year’s war-end anniversary, the last such occasion in the Heisei era.

The Emperor, who first attended the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead in 1989, after assuming the throne, has added new expressions for milestone anniversary years while adhering to remarks made by the late Emperor Showa.

He raised an alarm over the fading of memories of the war by including in his addresses the phrases “the ravages of war will never be repeated” at the 50th war-end anniversary in 1995, and “bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the last war” at the 70th anniversary in 2015.

The Emperor, who has consoled the souls of the war dead at battlefields in Japan and abroad together with the Empress since ascending the throne, has mentioned “peace” at ceremonies and press conferences more than 400 times.

During this year’s ceremony, the Emperor said the nation’s peace and prosperity have been brought about “thanks to the ceaseless effort made by people of Japan.” The newly added phrase of looking back on the long period of postwar peace has indicated his profound thoughts for the Heisei era, which has been built without a war, as well as his desire that peace will last through the next generation.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Politics

US bill on HK infringes on China’s sovereignty

An editorial from Chinese State Media. The passage by the US House of Representatives of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which confirms the United States’ support for protests in China’s special administrative region, comes as no surprise, given the high-profile support in the House and the visit of Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong and Denise Ho to the US last month. It is also likely to be passed by the US Senate soon. In supporting the legislation, which threatens Hong Kong’s “special status” if certain provisions are not made to protect its autonomy, US politicians claim they are supporting the “rights” and “liberties” of Hong Kong people. China calls the legislation a mechanism that supports separatism. Although the Western media are quick to dismiss such a claim, details of the act reveal Washington’s real agenda goes f


By China Daily
October 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

South Korea PM’s Japan visit a chance to mend ties

The two countries have not seen eye to eye after a trade dispute. Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon kicked off a three-day visit to Japan in the hope that a meeting with his Japanese counterpart will pave the way for improvements in the two countries’ strained relations. Before heading to Tokyo, Lee said he hoped South Korea and Japan would foster harmonious and mature relations despite difficulties, speaking with Japanese Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine, who saw Lee off at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. “I don’t expect that this visit will resolve everything but it will become an opportunity to take a step forward,” Lee said. Lee described Japanese Emperor Naruhito as a “warm and friendly” person, recalling their encounter at the World Water Forum in Brazil in March last year. On Tuesday, Lee attended Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace, which was followed


By The Korea Herald
October 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Mahathir warns of possible trade sanctions on Malaysia amid US-China trade war

From a Reuters report in Straits Times. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday (Oct 21) that his exports-reliant country could be hit with trade sanctions amid rising protectionism highlighted by the United States-China tariff war. Tun Dr Mahathir did not mention the source of possible sanctions on the South-east Asian country, but said he was disappointed that proponents of free trade were now indulging in restrictive trade practices on a “grand scale”. “Unfortunately, we are caught in the middle,” he told a conference in the capital Kuala Lumpur, referring to the US-China trade war. “Economically, we are linked to both markets and physically, we are also caught in between for geographical reasons. There are even suggestions that we ourselves would be a target for sanctions.” The US and China were two of the three biggest export dest


By The Straits Times
October 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Nepal needs development, but not by coercion

Reimagining Nepal and developing it warrants a broad outlook that listens to its people and shows regard for their displeasure. The country’s obsession with bulldozers and excavators as a symbol of development reached an eerie new high yesterday as a viral video sent a chill down people’s spines. In the name of building a road in Dashrath Chand Municipality in Baitadi (roads are synonymous with development in Nepal), an excavator was seen gouging into the land even as locals protested and pelted it with stones. Read: Excavator operator and three others detained for investigation in Baitadi As the excavator operator pressed forward using brute force in a disoriented manner, the massive machine’s toothed bucket knocked down a woman to the


By The Kathmandu Post
October 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

New Delhi slams Islamabad for unilaterally stopping postal services

Prasad further said that Pakistan ‘without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India’. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that Pakistan had stopped postal service from India for the last two months and slammed the move saying that it was in contravention of international norms. “For the last two months, Pakistan has stopped postal service from India. It’s directly in contravention of the World Postal Union’s norms,” Prasad told reporters. “But Pakistan is Pakistan,” Prasad, who is the Minister for Communications and IT, added. He said that Pakistan “without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India”. Pakistan has upped the ante against India ever since Parliament withdrew special category status to Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of its Constitution.


By Dawn
October 22, 2019

Diplomacy, Politics

Beijing sounds warning against foreign interference at annual security forum

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe delivers a speech at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China. China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe sounded a thinly veiled warning against the United States at a security conference in Beijing, saying that interfering in the internal affairs of others and inciting colour revolutions have led to wars and turbulence in various regions in the world. Such “reckless interference” would not foster harmonious relations, said General Wei on Monday (Oct 21) in his speech to open the conference. Beijing has blamed foreign countries, including the US, for inciting the unrest that has convulsed Hong Kong for five months. It has also


By The Straits Times
October 22, 2019