Japan Ambassador Karasawa Akira, U.S. Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland and Peleliu Governor Temmy Shmull commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the WWII where the two nations lost thousands of their countrymen. (Photo credit: US Embassy Palau FB Page)

75 years after the ending of the Second World War, the Ambassadors of Japan and the United States of America together visited Peleliu, the site of a major battle, to pay tribute to those who died there.

The Japanese Ambassador to Palau Karasawa Akira organized the commemorative ceremony on Saturday morning, August 15, and extended the invitation to US Ambassador John Hennessey-Niland. The two Ambassadors, accompanied by Peleliu State Governor Temmy Shmull, placed wreaths on the Japanese Government memorial at the Peleliu Peace Memorial Park and the US Army 81st Infantry Division Memorial.

August 15, originally known as “VJ” Day” originally marked the day of the Japanese surrender which ended WWII, is now known as “the Day to Commemorate the War Dead and Pray for Peace”. It has since become a very meaningful anniversary for Japan which not only honors the dead but looks towards reversing the “tragedies” of war.

The Embassy of Japan to Palau declared that all of Japan was dedicating “VJ Day” this year to commemorate those who died in the war, with Japan’s Emperor Naruhito expressing his “deep remorse” for the death and destruction which occurred because of it.

“In this period of COVID-19, it is impossible for anyone from Japan to visit Palau to pay tribute to those who died on both sides in the war,” said Mr. Takeshi Ogino of the Embassy of Japan. “Ambassador Akira attended this ceremony on behalf of all Japanese.”

The Battle of Peleliu is considered one of the costliest battles fought in the Pacific for both the US and Japanese forces during the Second World War. The battle continued over the course of two months, with thousands of soldiers killed on both sides. The Japanese Government erected the stone memorial at Peleliu Peace Memorial Park in 1985. 

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