Today marks 75 years since the surrender of Imperial Japan and the effective end of the Second World War.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has joined Labour’s Shadow Defence team in paying tribute to the British and Commonwealth troops that demonstrated unprecedented bravery and sacrifice in what is widely regarded as one of the war’s harshest theatres.
With Victory in Europe and D-Day anniversaries coming earlier in the calendar, Victory over Japan Day is often regarded as the ‘forgotten’ conflict by many, including The Royal British Legion.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Three quarters of a century after Victory over Japan, we continue to enjoy the hard fought freedoms secured by the brave men and women in the Pacific theatre.
“Harsh conditions, heavy casualties and some of the worst atrocities recorded enhance the need for us all to take a moment to pay tribute to the efforts of those who secured Victory over Japan.”
Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Stephen Morgan MP said:
“VJ Day forms a major part of our commemorative calendar. We all have a duty to ensure the stories of bravery and sacrifice are immortalised.
“The Pacific is the last theatre where British troops lost their lives in WW2, is a source of our nation’s cherished multicultural make up, and the incidences of bravery and sacrifice demonstrated there brought the world’s bloodiest war to an end.
“We owe it to those who fought then, their families, and service personnel now to commemorate the events leading up to Victory over Japan and to take stock of just how valuable our armed forces are.”
While figures are disputed, leading historians suggest that British and Commonwealth forces incurred heavy losses of life with 235,000 casualties, including approximately 82,000 killed.
Figures also suggest that British Prisoners of War in Japan had just a 25-27% chance of survival.
British and Commonwealth forces fighting in the Pacific were among the most diverse and multi-cultural. Troops from India, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal all fought together.
The Labour Party has a long lineage of commemorating VJ Day. It was Prime Minister Clement Attlee who first called for two days of national holiday to pay tribute to the efforts in the Pacific.