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Speech made by Ambassador Orita at the Act of Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral


15 Aug 2004

Ambassador Orita and former POW Les Dennison shake hands in front of the sculpture entitled 'Reconciliation'
Ambassador Orita and former POW Les Dennison shake hands in front of the sculpture entitled 'Reconciliation'

Canon White, My Lord Bishop, Mr. Dean, Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Mr. Malins, Ladies and Gentleman

It is really a moving experience for me to be with all of you here in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral especially on this particular day of August 15 th of the year. This hallowed place stands as a reminder to us all, of the horror and destruction of war. Yet when this Cathedral was re-built, it was done in the spirit of faith and hope for mankind, promoting reconciliation, friendship and peace. It is in that spirit that I speak to you today.

Fifty-nine years ago today the war between our two nations ended and peace was brought back into the world. No words can truly express the human misery of war; the suffering of those who gave and risked their lives; the pain of memories that do not fade.

Let us pay homage to those the war took away from us. Friends and family who remain in our memories as the young men and women we last knew.

Since the war Japan and Britain have accomplished much together as friends rather than adversaries. We should never forget the past, and, I will repeat, Japan expresses its deep remorse for events during the war. However by working together and strengthening the ties between our two nations, we can ensure that future generations live together in peace and friendship.

In this Cathedral, here, there is a sculpture entitled ��ϳeconciliation', which shows a man and woman embracing. An identical statue stands in the Hiroshima Peace Park of Japan. History has taught us the tragedy of war that should never be repeated. I pay tribute to the dedication by those of you here today to further the reconciliation between the peoples of our two nations. And, on my part, as the Ambassador and as an individual private person, will make my best efforts to do my part.

Today, let us reaffirm our commitment to the endeavour of reconciliation, and hope for long enduring friendship.

Thank You!




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