Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Friday, August 14, 2015
Cabinet Decision


On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, we must calmly reflect upon the road to war, the path we have taken since it ended, and the era of the 20th century. We must learn from the lessons of history the wisdom for our future.

終戦七十年(the 70th anniversary)を迎えるにあたり、先の大戦への道のり、戦後の歩み、二十世紀という時代を、私たちは、心静かに振り返り、その歴史の教訓(the lessons of history)の中から、未来への知恵(the wisdom for our future)を学ばなければならないと考えます。


More than one hundred years ago, vast colonies possessed mainly by the Western powers stretched out across the world. 


With their overwhelming supremacy in technology, waves of colonial rule surged toward Asia in the 19th century. 

圧倒的な技術優位(supremacy in technology)を背景に、植民地支配の波は、十九世紀、アジアにも押し寄せました。

There is no doubt that the resultant sense of crisis drove Japan forward to achieve modernization. 

その危機感(sense of crisis)が、日本にとって、近代化(modernization)の原動力となったことは、間違いありません。

Japan built a constitutional government earlier than any other nation in Asia. The country preserved its independence throughout. 

アジアで最初に立憲政治(a constitutional government)を打ち立て、独立(its independence)を守り抜きました。

The Japan-Russia War gave encouragement to many people under colonial rule from Asia to Africa.

日露戦争(The Japan-Russia War)は、植民地支配(colonial rule)のもとにあった、多くのアジアやアフリカの人々を勇気づけました。


After World War I, which embroiled the world, the movement for self-determination gained momentum and put brakes on colonization that had been underway. 


It was a horrible war that claimed as many as ten million lives. 

この戦争は、一千万人もの戦死者を出す、悲惨な戦争(a horrible war)でありました。

With a strong desire for peace stirred in them, people founded the League of Nations and brought forth the General Treaty for Renunciation of War. 

人々は「平和」を強く願い、国際連盟(the League of Nations)を創設し、不戦条約(the General Treaty for Renunciation of War)を生み出しました。

There emerged in the international community a new tide of outlawing war itself.



At the beginning, Japan, too, kept steps with other nations. 


However, with the Great Depression setting in and the Western countries launching economic blocs by involving colonial economies, Japan's economy suffered a major blow. 

しかし、世界恐慌(the Great Depression)が発生し、欧米諸国が、植民地経済を巻き込んだ、経済のブロック化(economic blocs)を進めると、日本経済は大きな打撃(a major blow)を受けました。

In such circumstances, Japan's sense of isolation deepened and it attempted to overcome its diplomatic and economic deadlock through the use of force. 

その中で日本は、孤立感(sense of isolation)を深め、外交的、経済的な行き詰まり(deadlock)を、力の行使(the use of force)によって解決しようと試みました。

Its domestic political system could not serve as a brake to stop such attempts. In this way, Japan lost sight of the overall trends in the world.

国内の政治システムは、その歯止めたりえなかった。こうして、日本は、世界の大勢(the overall trends)を見失っていきました。


With the Manchurian Incident, followed by the withdrawal from the League of Nations, Japan gradually transformed itself into a challenger to the new international order that the international community sought to establish after tremendous sacrifices. Japan took the wrong course and advanced along the road to war.

満州事変(the Manchurian Incident)、そして国際連盟(the League of Nations)からの脱退(the withdrawal)。日本は、次第に、国際社会が壮絶な犠牲(tremendous sacrifices)の上に築こうとした「新しい国際秩序(new international order)」への「挑戦者」となっていった。進むべき針路を誤り、戦争への道(the road to war)を進んで行きました。


And, seventy years ago, Japan was defeated.



On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished both at home and abroad. I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences.

戦後七十年にあたり、国内外に斃れたすべての人々の命の前に、深く頭を垂れ、痛惜の念(profound grief)を表すとともに、永劫の、哀悼の誠(sincere condolences)を捧げます。


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