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Singapore marks 60th anniversary of end of WWII in S.E. Asia.

SINGAPORE, Sept. 12 Kyodo

Singapore held a ceremony Monday to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Southeast Asia, with a government minister urging countries to face up to historical realities so as to purge the lingering pain from that war.

''We must face history squarely so that we can move on to build a new chapter,'' Communications, Information and Arts Minister Lee Boon Yang said in a speech.

Lee touched on the formal apology made by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in April this year during a conference in Bandung, Indonesia, and more recently on Aug. 15 at an event marking the end of the war.

''As we reflect on the 60th anniversary of the end of that war, it is time for us to heal these old wounds and to look towards strengthening peace, stability and friendly cooperation for the future,'' he said.

He delivered the speech at a commemoration ceremony at the Kranji war memorial in the northern corner of Singapore, where more than 4,000 Allied soldiers who perished fighting Japanese troops lay buried.

Singapore was invaded by Japan in February 1942 and suffered from Japanese military aggression and atrocities during the Japanese occupation, which lasted until the war ended in 1945. Tens of thousands of civilians were massacred by Japanese troops during that period.

More than 500 war veterans from Britain, Australia and New Zealand attended the solemn ceremony, held just after sunrise, on the manicured lawns of the war cemetery. The melancholy wail from a bagpipe occasionally broke the silence in remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives during the war.

Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Takaaki Kojima joined other diplomats, military personnel and war veterans in laying wreaths of red and white carnations at the war memorial.

Kojima told Kyodo News after the ceremony that the Japanese government has to acknowledge the lingering pain from the war.

''We, Japan, as the aggressor, have to recognize that Japanese troops committed wrongdoings during World War II. And the Japanese government should convey this recognition to the next generation,'' he said.

Sept. 12, 1945, was the day British Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia, accepted the surrender of Japanese troops in the region with the signing of the surrender document by Japanese Gen. Seishiro Itagaki in Singapore.

Japan's Asian neighbors have in recent years criticized Koizumi's recurring visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine. They have also voiced concern over revised Japanese school history textbooks that appear to whitewash Japan's wartime military atrocities.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 12, 2005
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