US President Obama hails ties with Japan on Victory over Japan Day

US President Barack Obama speaking during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House with Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2015.
US President Barack Obama speaking during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House with Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, in Washington, DC, on April 28, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama used the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific to honor the US war dead and herald remade ties with Japan on Wednesday.

Saluting "the Greatest Generation" of US soldiers who fought - a group which included Mr Obama's maternal grandfather - Mr Obama said today's US-Japan partnership was "unimaginable" 70 years ago.

"We remember those who endured unimaginable suffering as prisoners of war, and we honor the ultimate sacrifice of more than 100,000 US service members who laid down their lives in the Pacific theatre to defend our nation and advance the cause of freedom," Mr Obama said in a statement.

"We live in freedom because of their brave service."

Amid anger from China and others over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's alleged refusal to sufficiently atone for Imperial Japan's actions during the war, Mr Obama markedly praised his counterpart in Tokyo.

"As Prime Minister Abe and I noted during his visit in April, the relationship between our two countries over the last 70 years stands as a model of the power of reconciliation.

"Seventy years ago this partnership was unimaginable. Today, it is a fitting reflection of our shared interests, capabilities, and values, and I am confident that it will continue to deepen in the decades to come."