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Japan's new emperor echoes father, expresses deep remorse over war

Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attends a memorial service ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two, in Tokyo, Japan August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, expressed deep remorse over the country’s wartime past and prayed for global peace on Thursday, echoing his father’s words in remarks at an annual ceremony marking Tokyo’s surrender in World War Two.

Naruhito, 59, became Japan’s first monarch born after the war when he inherited the throne in May. His father, Akihito, stepped down in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries.

“Looking back on the long period of post-war peace, reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” he said.

“Together with all of our people, I pay my heartfelt tribute to all those who lost their lives in the war ... and pray for world peace and the further development of our country,” Naruhito said, echoing his father’s message a year ago.

Naruhito is a grandson of Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Linda Sieg and Paul Tait