Japanese Emperor Naruhito spoke of “deep remorse” in his first speech to commemorate Japan’s World War II surrender since he rose to throne in May. By contrast, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not mention any words of remorse or responsibility over the country’s historical wrongdoings and sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni shrine where Japan’s convicted war criminals are rested.
Marking the first anniversary to mark the end of World War II since the new Reiwa era was ushered in, the Japanese government held Thursday a memorial ceremony for those who lost their lives at war at the Nippon Budokan in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. "Looking back on the long peaceful years after the war, reflecting on our past, and bearing in mind the feeling of ‘deep remorse,’ I earnestly hope that the devastation of war will never be repeated," said Emperor Naruhito in his speech at the ceremony. In 2015, Akihito, his father and the then emperor of Japan, used the words of “deep remorse” for the first time, and since then, the expression has always been included in annual speeches.
Giving a speech at the memorial ceremony, Prime Minister Abe did not make any comments on the responsibility Japan is to take as perpetrator of war for the neighboring Asian countries that suffered immense pains from Japanese invasion. He said that Japan has consistently walked down a road as a country that values peace since the end of the world war. Abe sent an offering called “Damagushi” to the Yasukuni shrine, a symbol of Japanese invasion. He has sent offerings to the shrine for the seventh consecutive year since he took office for the second term in December 2012.