"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Address by the Prime Minister at the Seventy-Sixth National Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead

[Date] August 15, 2021
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

In the gracious presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, and with the attendance of bereaved families of the war dead and distinguished representatives of all sectors of society, I hereby commence the annual National Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead.

More than three million of our compatriots lost their lives during the war.

Some fell on the battlefields worrying about the future of their homeland and wishing for the happiness of their families. Others perished in remote foreign countries after the war. And many fell victim to the violent turmoil of war in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the air raids on numerous cities, and the ground battles in Okinawa, among others. Here, before the souls of all who lost their lives, I offer my heartfelt prayers for their repose.

We will not forget, even for a moment, that the peace and prosperity we enjoy today was built atop the precious lives and the history of suffering of the war dead. I express my deepest respect and gratitude once more.

Never will we forget the large number of war dead whose remains have still not been recovered. Taking it as the responsibility of the nation, we shall spare no effort to enable their remains to return to their hometowns at the earliest possible time.

Since the end of the war, Japan has consistently walked the path of a country that values peace. We have made every possible effort to bring about a world in which all people around the globe can enjoy peace and live in a way rich in spirit.

We will remain committed to our conviction that we must never again repeat the devastation of war. Under the banner of "Proactive Contribution to Peace," we are determined to join forces with the international community and do our utmost to resolve the various challenges facing the world. We will overcome COVID-19, which continues to spread even now, restore at the earliest possible time our vibrant daily lives in which we feel at ease, and carve out the future of our nation.

I will conclude my address by once again offering my heartfelt prayers for the repose of the souls of the war dead and for the happiness of the members of their bereaved families.

SUGA Yoshihide

Prime Minister of Japan

August 15, 2021