Abe voices ‘profound grief’ for WWII dead

TOKYO, August 14

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “profound grief” on Friday for all who perished in World War II in a closely watched statement marking the 70th anniversary of the country’s surrender.

Abe acknowledged in the statement delivered live on national television that Japan inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering” on innocent people in the war.

“On the 70th anniversary of the war, I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished both at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences,” Abe said.

Abe mentioned past apologies, but did not give a formal apology himself. He stressed Japan’s desire to move forward, while taking “the lessons of history deeply into our hearts.” Japan must face its history squarely, but its future generations should not have to continue apologising, he said.

“History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone,” he said.

The statement was closely watched by Japan’s neighbours, especially South Korea and China. Resentment over invasion, occupation and atrocities by the Japanese Imperial Army before and during the war still bedevils relations between Japan and the East Asian countries decades after the war ended with the August 15, 1945, surrender.