Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during the memorial service for the war dead of World War II marking the 75th anniversary in Tokyo on Saturday. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Saturday never to "repeat the tragedy of war" during a commemoration marking VJ Day, the day Japan surrendered in World War II.
Japan surrendered Aug. 15, 1945, days after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing an estimated 140,000 people.
The Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 sparked the war that ended when Allied powers defeated Germany, which was in a coalition with Italy and Japan, in 1945.
Abe made no apology during the ceremony at Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo, marking the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, but said Japan would "remain committed" to the pledge to never "repeat the tragedy of war."
Still, Abe sent a ritual offering for the war dead to Tokyo's Yasukini Shrine.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito said he had "deep remorse" over the wartime past.
Nazi Germany surrendered May 8, 1945, marking Victory in Europe or VE Day.
An estimated 15 million to 20 million died in Europe during WWII and more than 30 million soldiers and civilians were killed in the Pacific theater.
South and North Korea celebrate National Liberation Day on the same date, because Aug. 15 also marks the end of the decades-long Japanese occupation of Korea.
In Britain, Queen Elizabeth and the royal family also commemorated VJ Day.
Prince Philip was serving in the Royal Navy when the Japanese surrender was signed in 1945.
"Today we mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, which brought victory for the Allies and finally marked the end of the Second World War," the queen's statement said. "Those of us who remember the conclusion of the Far East campaign, whether on active service overseas, or waiting for news at home, will never forget the jubilant scenes and overwhelming sense of relief. Amongst the joy at the end of the conflict, we also remembered, as we do today, the terrible devastation that it brought, and the cost borne by so many."