It was 72 years ago today that Japan surrendered to allied forces, effectively bringing an end to World War II.
In Tokyo, Empress Michiko and Emperor Akihito led a national memorial ceremony, which was also attended by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
During his address to the audience, Emperor Akihito reiterated Japan’s commitment to post-war pacifism: “Now we look back upon the past and vow with deep remorse, that we’ll never repeat the atrocities of war again.”
People also gathered at the controversial Yasukini Shrine, which honours Japan’s war dead. Notably absent was prime minister Abe, who drew fierce condemnation from China and South Korea when he last visited the shrine in 2012. Japan’s neighbours see Yasukuni as a symbol of the country’s wartime militarism and slammed Abe’s visit as a move to whitewash Japanese aggression in World War II.
This year Abe sent a special advisor to represent him at the shrine.