Sister cities Honolulu and Nagaoka commemorate 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

On August 14th, 1945, Emperor Hirohito issued a decree read over the radio ordering imperial troops to lay down their arms and accept allied occupation of Japan.

To mark the 70th anniversary of that event, two cities - one American and one Japanese - commemorated the ending of that war in a solemn ceremony.

Mayors and city council members from Honolulu and Nagaoka, along with the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, laid wreaths. Nagaoka is the hometown of Admiral Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl  Harbor.

Associated Press:

Nagaoka Mayor Tamio Mori recounted his city's history to reporters after the ceremony and said peace was indispensable to its citizens.

"So we wanted to come to Pearl Harbor — the place where the war began — on this 70th anniversary of the end of the war to honor victims from the U.S. and Japan and send peace around the world," he said.

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

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

Part of Pearl Harbor, which is still an active naval base, will open to the public on Saturday for a display of Nagaoka's fireworks. The pyrotechnics will honor the war's victims and celebrate 70 years of peace and friendship.

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

The ceremony highlights one of the most remarkable and unique alliances in world history. The formerly vanquished Japan - humiliated and occupied - rose from the ashes of war to become an economic colossus, largely because the United States instituted economic and government reforms that unleashed the power of the Japanese citizen. Incredibly, after performing this miracle, the US ended their occupation in 1951 and handed complete control of the country back to its native rulers.

Considering the bitter emnity between the two countries during the war, it is remarkable that the alliance has thrived over the last 70 years. Much credit should go to General McArthur who ruled wisely as Supreme Commander of the occupation. He was firm when he had to be and deferential when it seemed the thing to do. There were rough spots as Japanese businessmen resisted the labor union act and the break up of the big farms that operated in a near feudal manner. But the transformation was extraordinary when you consider most of the reforms were passed during the six years of occupation.

The commemoration of the end of World War II also celebrates the 70 years the two countries have been partners in peace and prosperity.

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