After protests from members of Congress and veterans groups, the White House insisted Wednesday it is not avoiding use of the term “V-J Day” to commemorate this year’s 50th anniversary of the end of the war in the Pacific.
The Clinton administration reportedly had promised Tokyo that U.S. officials would avoid using the term “V-J Day” at commemorative events, in favor of something less biting such as “end of the war.”
Recent administration schedules for commemorative events have used terms such as “End of the War in the Pacific,” instead of “V-J Day,” short for Victory-Over-Japan.
But White House press secretary Mike McCurry on Wednesday downplayed any possible name change and insisted it is “V-J Day” which ended the war in the Pacific on Aug. 14, 1945.
McCurry said there had never been a move by “any part of the government that makes decisions” to drop the term “V-J Day.”
“I’m not aware that there was any serious consideration given to changing the name,” McCurry said. “The name is the V-J Day, End of the War in the Pacific, End of World War II Commemoration.”
On March 5, The Washington Post reported from Tokyo that Washington had assured Japanese officials that U.S. officials will avoid using the traditional term “V-J Day” at memorial events.
Veterans, who long have been upset with Clinton over his avoidance of military service, are watching the episode carefully.
“We believe V-J Day is Victory Over Japan,” said Bob Currieo, executive director of the 2.1-million member Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“If it is offensive to the Japanese, too bad. Victory in the Pacific doesn’t mean anything. We weren’t at war with Tahiti. Political correctness, that’s what it is.” of the War in the Pacific, End of World War II,” Lott said. “Those are the names. We have not changed any of them nor have we received any directive to change them.”
The administration’s effort was the latest in a series of moves it has made to reassure veterans while trying to placate uneasy Japanese leaders.
Japanese prime minister Tomiichi Murayama reportedly strongly opposed the administration’s original plan of a gathering of heads of state for a Pearl Harbor ceremony on Sept. 2, the 50th anniversary of Japan’s formal surrender.