Japan Vows not to Repeat the Tragedy and Mistakes of World War II on VJ Day

  • On the 75th anniversary of “Victory in Japan Day” (popularly known as VJ Day) on Saturday, Japan's Emperor Naruhito has expressed “deep remorse” over the actions of his country during World War II and went on to say that “I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never again be repeated.” VJ Day is celebrated to commemorate Japan’s surrender to the allied forces and the consequent end of the World War II on August 15, 1945 (a few months after Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945, commemorated as Victory in Europe Day or VE Day). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised not to repeat the tragedy of the Second World War. He avoided a visit to the controversial war shrine Yasukuni Shrine (which honors 2.5 million war dead including 14 Japanese wartime leaders who were convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal) but sent a ritual offering. Visit to this shrine angers China and two Koreas (North Korea and South Korea) because of the bitter memories of Japan’s past military aggression against these countries. Though PM Abe refrained from a personal visit, 4 Japanese ministers visited the shrine that may anger both China and South Korea. Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda told media that he paid respects “to the souls of those who nobly sacrificed themselves during the war.” Reports say that around 500 people (against 6,000 attending last year) visited a memorial service in Tokyo where Emperor Naruhito delivered a short speech. President of South Korea Moon Jae-in avoided any remarks on the Japanese ministers’ controversial visit and went on to say that the South Korean government is prepared to have a face-to-face discussion with the Japanese government regarding the historical disputes between the two countries at any time. South Korea and Japan are divided on the issue of compensation demands for Koreans, who were forced to work under the Japanese occupation during 1910-1945.