More than 6,100 people offered a prayer for the war dead during a state-sponsored ceremony at the Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo on Tuesday, marking the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, with aging relatives conspicuous by their absence.

For the first time since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office for his second prime ministership in December 2012, no Cabinet members made controversial visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine on the memorial day.

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