Thursday marked the 74th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II and the first one in the Reiwa Era. It also was the first time for Emperor Naruhito to attend the annual ceremony commemorating the nation’s millions of war dead. At Nippon Budokan Hall, the emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe renewed the pledge to learn from the nation’s tragic history and stressed that the devastation of war should not be repeated.

“Looking back on the long period of postwar peace, reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” the emperor said. “I express my sincere condolences with all the Japanese people to the people who have fallen on the battlefield and pray for world peace and further development of our country.” The prime minister stated that Japan’s pledge not to repeat the tragedy of war will never change even with the passage of time from the Showa Era through Hesei to Reiwa.

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