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Statement by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the End of the War

15 August 1995
Fifty years have passed since the end of the war. Today, when I recall the many people at home and abroad who fell victim in that war, I am overwhelmed by many emotions.
After the war, Japan overcame many difficulties and arose from devastation to enjoy peace and prosperity today. This is something we can be proud of, and I would like to pay tribute to the wisdom and untiring efforts of all Japanese people who worked toward those aims. I would also like to express once again our profound gratitude to the United States and other countries of the world for their support and cooperation in helping Japan reach those aims. It gives me great pleasure to note that Japan has developed friendly relations with neighboring countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States, and the countries of Europe.
Now that Japan enjoys peace and affluence, we tend to forget how precious and sacred peace is. We must talk to younger generations about the tragedy of war, so that we never repeat the mistakes of the past. I am convinced that, in order to join hands with people of neighboring countries to ensure true peace in the Asia Pacific region, and ultimately in the entire world, we must, more than anything else, foster relations with these countries that are based on deep understanding and trust. Guided by this conviction, the Government of Japan has launched its Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative, which promotes two major objectives: support for historical research into relations between Japan and neighboring Asian countries, especially during the modern era; and rapid expansion of exchanges with those countries. And in order to further strengthen the relations of trust between Japan and those countries, I will continue to work in all sincerity for solutions to post-war issues that are currently being addressed.
As we now mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, we must look into the past to learn from the lessons of history, then look toward the future and ensure that we make no mistake as we strive for peace and prosperity for humankind.
During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan followed mistaken national policies and took the road to war, ensnaring the Japanese people in a fateful crisis and inflicting, through colonial rule and aggression, great damage and pains on people in many countries, especially in Asia. Regarding in all humility these irrefutable facts of history, and in the hope that no such mistake will be made in the future, I express once more my feeling of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology. I also offer my sincere condolences to all victims of that history, both at home and abroad.
Building on our deep remorse on the occasion of today's 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan must reject self-righteous nationalism and promote international cooperation as a responsible member of the international community, thereby advancing the ideals of peace and democracy. It is also essential that Japan, as the only country to have experienced atomic bombing, actively promote global disarmament, especially through a stronger nuclear non-proliferation regime, with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons. I firmly believe that this is the way for Japan to atone for the past and console the souls of the victims.
It is said that nothing is more reliable than good faith. At this time of remembrance, I declare to the people of Japan and abroad my intention to base our Government policy on good faith, and this is my vow.
15 August 1995
Tomiichi Murayama, Prime Minister of Japan

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