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US marks end of Second World War with Pearl Harbour ceremony

Published 15/08/2015

A memorial to the sunken battleship USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour. (AP)
A memorial to the sunken battleship USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour. (AP)

Japanese dignitaries have joined the US in marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a ceremony at Pearl Harbour.

Mayors and city council members from Honolulu and Nagaoka, Japan, joined the US Pacific Fleet commander in Hawaii to lay wreaths and unveil a new plaque.

Fireworks resembling white flowers were launched at the end of the ceremony. White chrysanthemums are often presented at memorial services in Japan to honour the dead,

Nagaoka is the home town of the late Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbour that launched the US into the war in 1941. It is one of Honolulu's sister cities and is famous for fireworks.

US planes bombed the city during the last weeks of the war, killing nearly 2,000 people.

Nagaoka mayor Tamio Mori recounted his city's history to reporters afterwards and said peace was indispensable to its citizens.

"So we wanted to come to Pearl Harbour - the place where the war began - on this 70th anniversary of the end of the war to honour victims from the US and Japan and send peace around the world," he said.

Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell said the ceremony was to honour and remember the past, "because we cannot understand how to go forward unless we know where we came from".

Constant and continuing communication is required to ensure peace, he said, and the sister cities have built strong foundations for a bridge to peace.

Pearl Harbour will later host a public display of Nagaoka's fireworks to honour the war's victims and celebrate 70 years of peace and friendship.

The war ended when Japan surrendered on August 15 1945, which was still August 14 in Hawaii and other parts of the US.

The December 7 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour killed about 2,400 sailors, marines and soldiers on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Around the world, there were 15 million battle deaths and 45 million civilian deaths from the war, according to the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

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