Japan on Monday marked the 77th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, amid halting momentum to achieve a peaceful world due to Russia's nearly six-month invasion of Ukraine and mounting tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan.

A government-sponsored ceremony to mourn the around 2.3 million military personnel and 800,000 civilians who perished in the war on the Japanese side started before noon in Tokyo, though in a scaled-back form for the third straight year due to the country facing another wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In his first speech at the annual ceremony since taking office last October, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to never repeat the horrors of war, as the world is still faced with incessant conflicts.