It is an honour for me and the Royal British Legion to have been invited by the Organizing Committee to say a few words here today at this memorial service for Commonwealth and Allied Prisoners of War who died in the Far East during the second World War - a commemoration that has been held here at the Hodogaya Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery annually since 1995, when it was inaugurated by three persons: late Mr. Nagase, late professor Saito, and professor Amemiya.

The Royal British Legion was founded in the UK shortly after the 1914 -18 First World War to honour and preserve the memory of those who died or were wounded in combat so that others might live in freedom, peace and harmony - and to help and care for their families. Subsequent wars and armed conflicts have confirmed the need for the continued existence of the Legion. It is very important that we retain an accurate memory of the past. “Lest we forget…” is the RBL`s maxim.

The Royal British Legion does not glorify war or endorse the threat or use of armed force as a means of settling disputes. We are dedicated to the promotion of peaceful methods of conflict resolution and to reconciliation. Wars result in many bad things, such as the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima (tomorrow being the 72nd anniversary) and on Nagasaki, a few days later, for example. Reconciliation must include remembrance, so that history is not repeated.

Those who are interred in these peaceful surroundings, far from home and from their families and descendants, are of many nationalities and of diverse faiths and political affiliations. In addition to participating in annual commemorations here at Hodogaya, such as Remembrance Sunday, ANZAC Day and Memorial Day, the Japan branch of the Royal British Legion is pleased to place on individual graves flowers and messages marking birthdays or other anniversaries, on behalf of families or descendants who are unable to come here personally. We can send photographs back to those who have asked for our help.

Kobayashi-san of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who looks after this peaceful and beautiful place so well, is always willing to help in this endeavour, as also are members of the Prisoner of War Research Network of Japan.

I have lived in Japan for a total of almost 40 years and have been the Chairman and Poppy Appeal Organiser of the Japan branch of the Legion for the past 10 years. I like living here with my Japanese family and I have many Japanese friends. An additional attraction is the anti-war promise enshrined in the Japanese Constitution.

May reconciliation and peace prevail!

保土ヶ谷追悼礼拝 2017年8月5日




このような安らかな環境に埋葬された人たちは、遠く故郷、家族や子孫から離れておりますが、多くの国籍の人たちがおり、多様な信仰と政治政党に属する人たちがおります。ここ保土ヶ谷における毎年の追悼式、例えば英霊記念日(Remembrance Sunday)、アンザック・デー(ANZAC Day)、英霊追悼日(Memorial Day)への参加に加え、英国在郷軍人会日本支部は、ここに来ることができない家族やご子孫のかわりに、それぞれのお墓に花を添えたり、誕生日や他の記念日を記したメッセージを置いたりすることを謹んで行っております。私たちの助けを求めてきた人たちには写真を送って差し上げることもできます。




翻訳 奥津 隆雄