News

    Asia Marks 60th Anniversary of Japan's WWII Surrender

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Asia on Sunday is beginning to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the surrender of Japan, which brought a close to the Second World War. It was on August 14, 1945, that Japan communicated to the Allied powers that it would surrender. The official announcement from Tokyo came the following day.

    It was the day after Tokyo sent its surrender notice to the Allies that its own people learned the news. On August 15, 1945, Japan's national radio network boosted the power of its transmitters for an unprecedented broadcast address of the "Voice of the Crane" - the emperor. Until that historic day, ordinary Japanese had never heard their emperor speak.

    Speaking in archaic court language understood by few of his subjects, Emperor Hirohito told Japan that the tide of battle had not necessarily developed to the nation's advantage.

    While most Japanese reacted with stunned silence, there was jubilation across Asia as countries quickly realized they were being liberated from a long period of colonialism and militarism.

    Sixty years on, Japan still seems to have difficulty coming to grips with its defeat. The media focus here every August is on the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with little mention of Japan's aggression and the millions of Asians who died as a result of Japanese occupation.

    Every year on August 15, some cabinet ministers visit Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, setting off protests by Asian governments, which regard the Shinto religious site as glorifying Japan's militarism.

    Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has hinted he is unlikely to visit the shrine Monday, thus avoiding an untimely diplomatic firestorm during a domestic election campaign. But at least two of his cabinet ministers say they will go, including Environment Minister Yuriko Koike.

    Ms. Koike says because the 60th anniversary is a significant one, she wants to visit the shrine to pray for the repose of the souls of those who sacrificed their lives for their country and to also pray for world peace.

    On the Korean peninsula, Monday will be a day of celebration as both North and South Korea mark their 60th anniversary of independence. A delegation from Pyongyang arrived in Seoul on Sunday to join four days of commemorative events.

    China is also remembering the anniversary in a triumphant mood. Beijing credits the Chinese Communist Party with helping defeat the Japanese. Chinese media report that a newly expanded war memorial will be opened Monday, including a 16,000 square-meter exhibition hall dedicated to China's eight-year-long war against Japanese aggression.

    Although August 14 and 15th are celebrated as the end of the war, it was not until September 2, 1945, that Japan finally signed surrender documents and all its forces around Asia came under the command of local or Allied authorities.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora