Aug 16, 2009


The 64th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II (August 15, 1945) was commemorated on Saturday.

Prime Minister Taro Aso joined some 4,800 bereaved families to pay respect to 3.1 million Japanese war dead — 2.3 million soldiers and 800,000 civilians — at the Nihon Budokan hall in Tokyo. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko also attended the ceremony, leading a one-minute silence at noon. Emperor Akihito — whose father Hirohito announced Japan's surrender in a radio broadcast on Aug. 15, 1945 — said he hoped Japan would never again wage a war. 

“I mourn for those who died in the war and pray for world peace and further development of Japan,” the 75-year-old emperor said in a speech.

“The memory of the war is fading. So I am trying very hard to pass the story of our generation to the younger generation,” said 82-year-old former naval officer Shiratake Kuribayashi.

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