Japanese Emperor Expresses 'Deep Remorse' for World War II
Japan's emperor, Akihito, expressed his "deep regret" Wednesday for his country's actions during World War Two.
The 84-year-old emperor expressed his remorse during a ceremony at Tokyo's Budokan Hall to mark the 73rd anniversary of Japan's surrender to Allied Forces, following the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki just days earlier.
Akihito, accompanied by his wife, Empress Michiko, issued his statement while facing a shrine to the war dead: "I hereby reflect on the past, with deep remorse, and I sincerely hope the atrocity of war will not be repeated. Together with the people of Japan, I sincerely express my condolences for those who perished in the war and pray for world peace and the further prosperity of our nation."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also spoke at Wednesday's ceremony, pledging not to repeat the errors of the "Japan has continued its steps as a nation which values peace in the post-war period. Reflecting upon history humbly, under whatever the situation in the world will be, Japan will keep its pledge to make the world a better place and never to repeat the atrocity of the war. We will continue our seamless effort to sincerely tackle the various challenges which could evolve into conflicts, and to realize a society where everyone can live in peace."
Abe's comments were made at the ceremony while he is attempting to revise Japan's post-war pacifist constitution and strengthen the country's self-defense forces.
Emperor Akihito has spent much of his reign visiting many places in the Pacific region that were invaded by wartime Japanese forces and expressing his regret for their actions carried out in the name of his father, Hirohito.
This was the final appearance at the annual ceremony for Akihito, who will abdicate the throne next year.
Mali President Wins Presidential Runoff Vote in Landslide
Incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali has won a landslide victory in the West African nation's presidential runoff election.
Official results announced Thursday reveled Keita won 67 percent of the vote from Sunday's second round, soundly beating challenger and opposition leader Soumaila Cisse. Turnout in the runoff vote was an abysmally low 34 percent, as voters stayed away due to threats of violence by jihadist militants.
The government stepped up security for Sunday's run-off, deploying 6,000 troops in addition to the 30,000 who already were on duty.
But despite the added security, a polling station president was killed in the northern Timbuktu region and the polling station there was burned.