On this Okinawa Memorial Day, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all the people who lost their lives in the war.
Also, I sincerely hope for the peaceful repose of the souls of the victims of the Kumamoto Earthquakes and a speedy recovery for the affected regions.
Okinawa was the site of a fierce ground battle at the end of the war that claimed more than 200,000 precious lives including those of civilians. During the battle, our cultural assets were ruined, our nature was destroyed, and our property was lost.
Today, 71 years after the end of the war, the scars of the atrocities still remain with us, and our sorrow and compassion for those who lost their lives is deeper than ever.
From the Battle of Okinawa we learned about the pointlessness of war and the preciousness of peace. This knowledge that we gained through our own terrible experiences should be passed down to future generations. At the same time, it is our duty and mission to spread to the world Okinawa’s “spirit of peace” that we achieved through our history as well as our natural and spiritual environment.
Okinawa Memorial Day is a day to mourn and offer solace to the victims of war. It is also a day to solemnly accept the reality of history and renew our promise to strive for everlasting peace in a world without war, which is the universal hope of the human race.
I hope every Okinawan will offer their condolences to those who died in the war with their friends and family today, and reaffirm our pledge to achieve peace.