Address by Mr. Shintaro Ito,
Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs

At the Joint Japan-US Commemorative Ceremony of the Battle of Iwo Jima

March 8, 2006

On behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to say a few words on the occasion of this year's Joint Japan-US Commemorative Ceremony of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Iwo Jima was the site of one of the most hard-fought battles of the last world war. I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the souls of the numerous Japanese and Americans who died fighting on this remote island. I would also like to reflect on deep sadness that family members will always feel over the loss of their beloved ones on this hallowed ground sixty-one years ago.

Past enemies have now become steadfast allies, cooperating closely to preserve the values both countries hold so dear. We must never forget that, the prosperity Japan and the United States enjoy today is founded on the solemn sacrifices made by those on both sides. Today's joint commemorative ceremony proves the ability of Japan and the United States to overcome past confrontation to build an ever stronger relationship of trust and friendship.

To conclude, I wish for the continued health and happiness of members of the Iwo Jima Veterans Association of Japan and the Veterans Association of America who have hosted today's ceremony. I also wish to express my deep gratitude to the members of Parliamentary League for Iwo Jima of Japan, the Japanese Air, Maritime, and Ground Self Defense Forces, the US Marine Corps and Navy stationed in Japan and others who generously extended kind assistance in realizing today's ceremony.

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