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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 August 2005, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
VJ Day: Your views
The Japanese surrender at Tokyo Bay, 1945
Many countries have been marking the 60th anniversary of VJ Day, when the Japanese surrendered and World War II finally came to an end.

Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said the country feels "deep remorse" for colonial rule and aggression in Asia.

In the UK, a memorial building to Far East prisoners of war will be officially opened amid tributes to honour the men and women who served in the war.

How will you be marking VJ day? Do you think the celebrations are still important? Were you or was anybody you know involved in the events of 60 years ago?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

It is time to stop the cycle of perpetual blame and resentment for events of the past
Michael, California, USA
These kinds of celebrations should be used to promote understanding, but I think they promote resentment and fear. How can celebrating "Victory over Japan" day do anything other than cause resentment in Japan and hatred elsewhere? Yes, the Japanese of the day did start WW2, but not the current generation. It is time to stop the cycle of perpetual blame and resentment for events of the past. No excuses, please!
Michael, California, USA

I was a technical sergeant in the Philippines when the war ended. Our division was to assault Kyushu several months later and we all breathed a sigh when we knew the war was over. In summer clothing, however, we landed in Korea at Inchon, on 3/4 September 1945 and occupied Taegu as the division was disbanded and new troops transferred to the 6th or 7th Divisions. I went home in February '46 and re-upped 54 days after I was discharged, thus keeping my grade. I was commissioned two years later by a board, was again in Korea in 1950 and 1951, and served until 1960, leaving the Army as a major.
C Norris Harrison, Chetertown, MD, USA

I think it is time for all countries to learn lessons and move on. I am horrified to learn of the appalling way the Japanese treated prisoners of war. I am also horrified at the terrible atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. None of it is right. None of it is justified. As an aside: If Japan had not bombed Pearl Harbor, the US probably would not have joined in WWII, and the consequences to Britain, not so good.
Kitty, Coventry, UK

This may be a bit insensitive to say, but things happen in war that would not be permissible otherwise. All nations have acted in war in ways that are unspeakable in peace. War is after all, simply organized violence on a national scale. The only concern in a total warfare scenario is the advancement of the causes at the root of the war. Concern for the feelings or sensitivities of the opponent shouldn't be the primary factor when making war decisions. From brutal, repressive government of occupied territories, to a surprise attack on an enemy harbor to firebombings of cities in Europe and Japan, to dropping atomic bombs, to burning villages and forests with napalm and launching massive aerial bombardments of cities with technologically advanced weapons. All were done during a time of war. No side is innocent or guilty. Let us simply head off such conflict in the future and learn from the suffering on all sides that takes place during war.
Andrew, Washington, DC

Surely deeds speak louder than words. My father was an officer in the Burma campaign. He never talked about his experiences except to say there had been indescribable cruelty. But as he got old he told us that he believed Japan's post war behaviour was unmatched by most other countries in the world. He considered that an apology, spoken or not.
Bob Deverell, Bangkok, Thailand

The Japanese government has often expressed remorse for colonial rule and aggression in Asia in the last war. However, I think many Japanese people consider such remorse rather hollow because word and deed here are typically disparate as is often the case with Japanese politics. I think every time they express remorse for the wrongdoing in the war, they should lay out some concrete plan, whatever small step it may appear, to improve the situation in which Japan's handling of the past still rankles in the neighbouring countries.
Shoichi Minagi, Japan

Children should learn about it. Those few of us left will be satisfied
Kenneth Horne, Kensington, Ca USA
As an ex-prisoner of war and a survivor of the voyage of the DaiNitchi Maru. I am grateful that people still remember. Children should learn about it. Those few of us left will be satisfied.
Kenneth Horne, Kensington, Ca USA

I was born in Coventry on the day that Dresden was destroyed, and a few months after my father died on a bombing mission. Coventry is now happily twinned with Dresden. Japan (where I am living) should likewise seek to gain world respect and reduce tensions with China by seeking to twin Hiroshima with Nanking.
Roger S, Tokyo, Japan

This was war. It was a macho, aggressive event that shamed all who took part. Everyone should apologise, agree to learn from the mistakes of the past and learn to grow together in peace. Wars should not be commemorated, they should be commiserated.
Linda Tellingham, UK

All of us today should stand and show respect for all that those men, women and children endured during that time. It is so PC these days to castigate the Allies for the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, when the atrocities committed by the Japanese forces are mentioned, the silence from the PC crowd is deafening. That's rather sad in my opinion. It diminishes what people in the Far East had to endure, both military and civilian, under the regime.
Mark Rees, San Francisco, CA USA (ex-pat)

We should not forget the small contributions made by Commonwealth forces in the South Pacific
Joshua Teal, Auckland, New Zealand
My grandfather served in the Pacific with Third Division, New Zealand Army, so my family attended the parade in Auckland to commemorate VJ day. Much of the Pacific war seems to be remembered in kamikaze missions, atom bombs and the US navy, but we should not forget the small contributions made by Commonwealth forces in the South Pacific. It was as much their victory as anyone else's.
Joshua Teal, Auckland, New Zealand

My great grandfather fought the Japanese through New Guinea and patrolled Northern Australia throughout the war. He would not speak about his experiences fighting the Japanese because of the terrible things he had seen them do. WW2 was the first time in Australia's history that we had been threatened directly and what our soldiers did to protect this country of then only 7 million people is among the greatest achievements of any army in WW2. I as an Australian cannot express my gratitude and thanks for what these men did to protect and preserve our country and our people.
Luke, Sydney, Australia

It is long past time for the Japanese government to make real atonement for the atrocities of the Japanese military against the civilian populations of all the countries it invaded in the war. It should also apologise and give reparations to the POWs it abused during their unwarrantedly harsh captivity. The western governments must also accept the responsibility of not adequately forcing the Japanese to accept their obligations to the world and also their own citizens. Most young Japanese are ignorant of their military's atrocities. The two atomic bombs were a tragedy but their use allowed my father (and many others) to survive the hell of a Japanese POW camp.
David Forbes, Uvalde, Texas

None of us should ever forget the sacrifices that they made for our future
Karl Groome, Colchester, England
My father Maurice was in Burma for four years serving in the fourteenth army Royal Artillery. Unfortunately dad has passed on but the strong bonds that he had with fellow soldiers that served in the Far East were with him till the very end. A band of brothers he used to call them. No-one will ever know what these brave men went through or had to endure. But from the things my dad used to tell me, every single one who fought, died or came back were heroes all and none of us should ever forget the sacrifices that they made for our future.
Karl Groome, Colchester, England

As an American of Japanese descent, I have this opinion. The Japanese do not have to keep apologising for the war. What they must do is to teach the next generation of the crimes and atrocities they committed.
Tanaka, California

My father was waiting, with thousands of others, to invade Rangoon when Japan surrendered. Instead of serious risk of death the invasion went ashore unopposed. It may be that I owe my life to that surrender, and the dropping of the atomic bombs that precipitated it. My uncle almost certainly owes his life to the timing of VJ-day. When he was released from a prisoner of war camp he weighed under 7 stones and was nearly dead from the ill-treatment he had received.
Barry P, Havant England

If we forget the past and do not learn from it, we are destined to repeat it. No-one will ever agree on what was the right thing to do. My father served on the USS Denver during the war and I remember him telling the stories of the best and worst days. We can only remember, pray for peace and guidance and respect the sacrifices of all involved.
Darnel Parrillo-Casper, Fairhope, Alabama, USA

Today is the day when the divided Koreas gathered and celebrated the anniversary
Ju Hee Yoon, South Korea
Today is the day when Korea was finally freed from the severe Japanese rule. Also today is the day when the divided Koreas gathered and celebrated the anniversary. I cried for a long time seeing the families reuniting their mothers, daughters, suns, and grandparents through a wide screen television.
Ju Hee Yoon, South Korea

I was born nine years after the end of the Japanese surrender in war-torn Malaya. Though I was never even a war baby, I cannot help but reflect that I, too, had been affected indirectly by the war. It was enough that I heard from my parents and people of their generation about the atrocities committed by the Japanese army. They obviously suffered through that dark period. Though 60 years have passed since this surrender, I cannot truly bring myself to forget the stories of how my parents lived through the war years.
SS Quah, Penang, Malaysia

My father was involved in Europe in WW2 but I still remember reading about the war in Japan in newspapers in the years after the war. I have heard criticism of the education system because today's youth seem to know little of WW2, but when I asked my 68-year-old husband what he knew of WW1 and the Boer War it was also very little. Rightly or wrongly each generation moves on.
Christine Cullen, Surrey, UK

I had a text message from my father this morning it reads. 60 years ago today an 8-year-old boy was in Woolworth's with his mother. Suddenly there was lots of shouting and the pretty shop girls were all kissing each other then kissing the little boy and his mother. His mother asked "What's happened?" the shop girls all screamed "The war's over, Japan has surrendered" I asked him as an 8-year-old, did he understand the significance of what he witnessed? He replied "it didn't seem as important as the German surrender. I'd heard German bombs but the war with Japan was a long way away and I knew nothing about it. It hadn't affected me" He went on to say "strange thing is, I can't remember anything about the day Germany surrendered, but even now I can clearly see that day in Woolworth's". Whether he can remember the day so vividly because of the shop girls kisses him or whether the German surrender passed him by unknowingly, who knows. I'm extremely disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any kind of celebrations in London to mark the day. I would have attended definitely. I feel very strongly in favour in honouring our war heroes. Where would we be now without their courage?
Julia, London, UK

"Crimes against peace" committed by the US during/since WWII have gone unpunished
Eric L, Kyoto, Japan
The longer I live in Japan, the more WWII becomes an issue. Crimes were certainly committed by all sides, but, looking at the history from Japan's perspective, the situation looks very different: Japan's colonies during the war were colonies of the West before; the Far East war tribunal would be dismissed today's courts; and "crimes against peace" committed by the US during/since WWII have gone unpunished. Is it no wonder the Japanese have not found closure to this complex history?
Eric L, Kyoto, Japan

What most Chinese want are not apologies. The Japanese are tired of it, we are also tired of it. What is needed are actions. Japanese politicians cannot apologise on one day while denying the crimes that were committed on the other!
Andy Tay, Singapore

Let's take this time to remember and to thank the forgotten Army. The Commonwealth contribution to the War against Japan has been forgotten. I told my American Father in Law about the British, Indian and Ghurkha battles in Burma. He had no idea the British fought the Japanese in WW2!
DW, UK

My grandfather was captured by the Americans in the Philippines and held for five years in a concentration camp. Most of his family died during the war and soon after his imprisonment ended, he left Japan for Latin America and never returned. Although I didn't live those times and have no particular connections to Asia, I am perplexed that there is so much hate in most of these comments. There is not valid justification for any death (China and Hiroshima are both massacres). What I find abominable is that contemporary politicians (in all sides) still exploit their war dead to obtain economic perks and lure more devotees to support their personal agendas.
Sachi Hoshikawa, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

It's horrible to think of what young men went through for their country back then and even now
Lesley, Warrington
My grandfather fought in Burma, when I was younger he told funny tales of monkey's stealing their food during the night and snakes slithering into their boots. I used to laugh with him over it but as I have grown older I have realised that was his way of dealing with atrocities he must have gone through. Throughout his life (he lived until last year when he turned 87) he suffered from serious nightmares, malaria flare ups and a back injury.
When under going a medical operation in hospital a few years ago he had such a bad nightmare that he pulled all the ECG leads off himself and fought with the nurses thinking they were the "Japs". It's horrible to think of what young men went through for their country back then and even now. In 60 years nothing much has changed has it? There are still wars being fought, young people being killed and experiencing such tragedies that they are haunted for the rest of their lives.
Lesley, Warrington

My grandfather moved his family from the occupied east of China in Hebei province to Xinjiang far from the reaches of Imperial Japan's claws and was a member of the Kuomintang(Chinese nationalist party) and like many patriotic Chinese went of to fight the Japanese for nearly a decade and the point is that he has no memorial and for years was buried without even a tombstone only a number on the dirt floor to identify him in a foreign land far from the nation he fought for. So keep in mind that not everybody who fought will be as fortunate and have memorials dedicated to them and so what this day represents as well as V-E day is the fact that most men will be nothing more than a statistic.
Zhang, Australia

We have much on which to reflect today... the events of the war in the Pacific, how things have changed during the past 60 years, and what we should do in the years to come. All peoples of all nations have to come to terms with events of their history. For many European nations, colonialism has a very dark element which is painful to reflect upon. For the USA, our treatment of native Americans and slavery are not noble chapters in our history. For the greater number of us, acknowledging the stains upon our nations' histories do not diminish our pride in who we are today or our visions for brighter futures. Until the Japanese collectively acknowledge the crimes of the past, they will not find resolution. They will continue to suffer a schism in their national identity.
Knox , Atlanta, GA, USA

To Alex Neil, Glasgow, Scotland Yes, I understand that you don't want to use your life time to apologize for your country's past, but should someone like the Japanese Government apologize sincerely for even ONCE, to the victims?
Feng Qiao, New Jersey, USA

I was born and lived in Japan until 20 years old. I did not learn about any of our atrocities during the war. It seems that the government tries not to reveal them explicitly. There is a huge emphasis on atomic bomb and how we suffered from it when the war was discussed in a classroom. I felt as if we were the worst victims of war at that time. It was only when I enrolled in university in US that I learned about the cruel, inhumane crimes we had committed to POWs and female civilians of other countries. The first step to remedy the situation is to make sure people in Japan learn about their war crimes at school. Ignorance is the sin and the truth must be told.
Mitsuko Murakami, Baton Rouge, USA

All people and all nations have something in their history to be ashamed of
John, NJ, USA
I would really like to respond to Tanaka San's note (Susumu Tanaka - Osaka, Japan). God Bless You. I don't believe that you are alone in your thinking. All people and all nations have something in their history to be ashamed of. Admitting this, accepting responsibility, and resolving to do better is the best we can do. You have made a remarkable and brave first step and I am sure that you are not alone. Now you can and should be "proud" of being Japanese. You are the best example for your fellow countrymen. Don't give up !
John, NJ, USA

I think Susumu and Anonymous from Japan miss the point. No-one claims that Britain's empire was any better than the Japanese one. The difference was in how we treated prisoners of war and civilians in countries we conquered. We committed atrocities but they were seen as such, the Japanese Imperial Army seems to have committed atrocities as a matter of course.
Luke Magee, UK

On VJ Day, I am delighted to hear our Prime Minister apologising for the atrocities of our past. And it is my sincere hope that one day a British Prime Minister will apologise for the atrocities of the British Empire, and a President of the United States for the deaths of the innocent victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Anonymous, Tokyo, Japan

Sometimes I wonder why Japan is so much criticised by other countries. Yes. Thirty years of Japanese Rule over Korea was shameful. But what would future people think of the 300 year colonisation of India by Britain?
Susumu, Tokyo

I think that the Japanese killed many people especially in China and Korea. But they also developed our economic infrastructures and raised our standard of our living with their advanced technology. History is always made from the winners side of the war. The Japanese should know more about the "Rape of Nanking", for instance. But also, we, Koreans should also know about the atrocities in Korean war and Vietnam war. However, our education is only focused on the second world war, how the Japanese are cruel even though Japanese people are very friendly and helpful now.
Park, Seoul

I read many books and articles about the WWII. As a Chinese, I can never forget what Japanese troops did to my country. In Nanking, a massacre of 300,000 innocent people. And 20m Chinese lost lives in the war. I hope people understand and appreciate the great sacrifice China made during the war. And I hope Japanese politicians show their sincerity with actions instead of words.
Jiang, Florida

I don't plan to spend my life apologising for the behaviour of previous British governments and generations in India, Africa, North America and Australia. Neither should today's Japanese people feel the need to apologise to anyone. It is time to move on.
Alex Neil, Glasgow, Scotland

Steve Foley's comments are naive and offensive. I lived and worked in Japan for two years and found them both hospitable and friendly. It was the best time of my life. However I would never, never, never ask an allied PoW held in one of the Japanese camps to "draw a line" under WWII. The things they went through are beyond imagination and it is no ones place to tell these veterans to either forgive or forget! Only with the passing of time and generations will we be truly able to move on.
Frank James, Hayes, Kent

I have just taken an hour off work to go to the War Memorial Garden to play Last Post/Reville for the local Royal British Legion. Only five old chaps and a couple of ladies were there. I feel it was well worth my time to respect the sacrifice made by all the armed forces and the civilian population at that period of time. The "deep remorse" proffered by Koizumi cuts very little ice with the survivors of the Japanese reign of terror from the 1930s to August 1945 by that nation.
A. Higham, Wilmslow

Most Japanese do not think they are guilty of the atrocities committed during World War II
Susumu Tanaka, Osaka, Japan
My Grandfather was captured by the Japanese when they invaded Singapore. He was interned in Changi, and tortured - probably because his workforce were Chinese, a people for whom he had deep respect. He survived the depravation of Changi and rebuilt his business, but he never had an apology from the oppressors who burned his factories down.
Jane Stanbury, Burgess Hill, England

It makes me sick to know that the Japanese prime minister and other officials are still visiting the graves of the Japanese soldiers who were war criminals and killed hundreds thousands of Asians. How would one feel if the German Chancellor is to visit Hitler's grave these days! The Japanese government has yet to show their sincere apologies.
Ana, Surrey

My grandfather was an army nurse that was sent out to Nagasaki to treat those injured. I have some pictures of him at ground zero. Japan needs to face the reality of the horrendous cruelty it inflicted on many during the war. Words cannot express the horror it inflicted, for example, during the Rape of Nanking. The PM and more importantly the people of Japan must feel ashamed and humble for the atrocities it inflicted on the world. I don't really think Japan has really faced its demons in this matter. Germany teaches its kids about the holocaust for example, do the Japanese teach their kids about the 'Rape at Nanking'?
Andy, Llanelli

I was born in 1942, so there is nothing to remember about VJ Day except there must have been a lot of joy in our home. My dad was going to come home. A few years later, I learned he was on the way to Japan when the war ended. He fought in the Solomon Islands, and made it through the Philippines with MacArthur. He was no hero, but did earn the Purple Heart and made three landings in the Pacific. So, I am glad the war ended when it did, as was my Mother, who also had three brothers in the war. In my life, I have learned that no war ever succeeded in solving anything unless the parties involved shake hands and go forward.
Walter, Hong Kong

As an ex-soldier I applaud the sacrifice that these men made over many years
Nick, Reading, UK
As an ex-soldier I applaud the sacrifice that these men made over many years. I'll never have a complete understanding of what they went through, only because their sacrifice has spared me that, all of us. We should not forget as Britain so often does that soldiers have fought and died since WWII and they rarely have recognition, especially in the unpopular wars we've been sent to. Don't forget it's still going on, and support the young men now employed in Britain's interests, mostly unsung.
Nick, Reading, UK

As a child, my father was forced to work for the Japanese during their brutal occupation of Borneo. He used to gladly recall the day when Australian troops arrived with food for the locals. As an Australian of Chinese descent I cannot forget what the Japanese did to the people of East Asia or to the Allied troops who fought for them. If and when the Japanese truly accept what they did, I and many others might begin to forgive. But so far, that day is nowhere near.
Marc Chang, Melbourne, Australia

It is heartening to see Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, for once, conducting himself in an appropriate and sensitive manner on this all important day of commemoration. Although there is a right-wing resurgence, the phenomenon can be in part be explained by Japan's continuing economic difficulties. For most voters economic reform is the most important issue in the forthcoming elections and opinion polls show that a majority wish to improve relations with Japan's neighbours. It is unfortunate therefore that no effort was made to conduct a co-operative international commemoration ceremony - as in Europe .
Cris Bates, Tokyo, Japan

My dad experienced the war. When the war was over, he was still a child. He's still got vivid memories of the war with him and he used to tell me stories about it when I was a child. Those stories made me feel horrible and uncomfortable. I don't remember him saying that that war was wrong like other wars. However hard I tried to get his emotions about the war, I couldn't. I know we still need to make up for our mistakes with sincerity and It's going to take more time for our heartfelt apologies to be accepted by those who suffered and are still suffering from the war. But I want other countries to turn their eyes to A-bombs which were dropped onto our mother land and claimed countless number of people's lives in seconds. The world could learn more from this horrible lesson.
Kotaro Watanabe, Singapore

No matter how sincerely Mr Koizumi apologised, most Japanese do not think they are guilty of the atrocities committed during World War II. They only feel like war-victims themselves. Japan's attitude towards the war looks ridiculous to me, and I am very, very ashamed of being a Japanese.
Susumu Tanaka, Osaka, Japan

My grandfather was a captain on the battleship USS WASP. He was wounded by a Kamikaze and knocked out of the war with injuries to his arm and neck. Living in Japan I have seen extreme right wing forces at work today. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara says WWII was justified because the whites wanted Asia as a colony. He Prime Minister Koizumi visits a shrine every year where class A war criminals are enshrined, causing undue pain to the rest of Asia without seeming to notice. Far-right vans ply the streets of central Tokyo every week spewing hate through loud speakers with no reaction from local police or people on the street.
Cliff Taylor, London UK

I think it's very difficult for the young generations to fully appreciate what VJ day means. Education is highly focused on the European war, and skirts around Japanese involvement, besides Pearl Harbour and nuclear bombings. I believe it's important that we celebrate VJ day and get a global view of the effect of the wars, rather just the local effects.
Jonathan Whiteley, Brighton, UK

We should mark these anniversaries and pay our respects one last time, this being 60 years since the end of WW2. That being done, we should draw a line under these tragic events and get closure on WWII. Past enemies are now allies and we have a common foe these days - terrorism. If this means a change to future Remembrance Sundays and no more parades of fewer and fewer old men past the Cenotaph, then that is what we will need to do. Let us look forward not back.
Steve Foley, Reading, UK

The surrender was a relief to the many more (my dad included) who would have been thrown into the conflict. And bad as the casualties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, the Japanese were immensely cruel, both to our boys, but even more so to the Chinese. What in the world stirred up such hatred?
Graham, Cobham





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