Japan marked for the first time Sunday the end of the allied occupation of the country following its defeat in World War II.
"We have a responsibility to make Japan a strong and resolute country that others across the world can rely on," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a ceremony in Tokyo that was attended by dignitaries, including Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
During the election campaign that returned him to power last December, Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party promised to mark April 28 as "Restoration of Sovereignty Day." April 28, 1952, was when the San Francisco Peace Treaty took effect, marking the official end of World War II and the allied occupation of Japan. Since his election, Abe has surged in the polls on the back of both his economic prescriptions for a stagnant economy as well as his plan to rewrite the country's pacifist, post-war constitution. MORE