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Minister marks anniversary of VJ Day

Minister marks anniversary of VJ Day

Sixty-six years after Japan signed the Armistice that marked the end of World War II, New Zealanders still have immense gratitude to those who fought in the conflict, Veterans' Affairs Minister Judith Collins said today.

"We must never forget the sacrifices made and the dedication shown by those who served our country in the Second World War," Ms Collins said on the anniversary of Victory over Japan (VJ) Day.

"New Zealanders have immense gratitude to those who fought in the Second World War. Today we honour those who did not return, and pay tribute to those who served and are still with us."

On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered to the Allies, bringing to an end six years of bitter conflict in which more than 11,000 New Zealand troops lost their lives.

The war against Japan began in December 1941 when the Japanese bombed the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. A day after the attack, the US, Great Britain and other allies, including New Zealand, declared war on Japan.

The Pacific War was fought over a large area, and New Zealanders primarily fought in three areas - Singapore, the Solomon Islands and the seas around Japan.

Thousands of men and women from New Zealand's Army, Navy and Air Force served in the Pacific. Other New Zealand forces were based in the Middle East and Europe.

"The legacy of our Second World War servicemen and women continues to inspire our nation, especially the men and women who today proudly serve in the New Zealand Defence Force," Ms Collins said.

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