This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government

Petition Establish a national day commemorating the significance of 15th August 1945.

Thousands of servicemen were held as Far East prisoners of war from 1941-1945, caught up in a conflict that endured long after the celebrations for VE Day. The contribution of those who had the misfortune to be held as pows, many of whom did not survive, deserves to be remembered nationally.

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Over 50,000 UK servicemen were held as Japanese prisoners of war in South East Asia between 1941-1945, of whom twenty-five per cent were either killed or died during captivity. With few survivors now left, this conflict is fast disappearing from living memory. These brave men felt cruelly overlooked upon their repatriation and beyond, and a national day of commemoration would go some way to putting that right.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

17,627 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 10 July 2019

The Government values VJ Day commemorations as an opportunity for the nation to show their gratitude to veterans and acknowledge their heroics in the most challenging of environments.

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The Government believes it is important to commemorate the sacrifices made by our service men and women and gratefully acknowledges the responsibilities that our country’s Armed Forces assume on behalf of us all.

The Government recognises the importance of VJ Day and how it was instrumental in bringing an end to the Second World War. Several key events were held to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VJ day in 2015, some of which were attended by veterans and ex-prisoners of war. The 75th anniversary of VJ day next year will be an important occasion for us to repay that debt once again – to the Veterans of the campaign, to all those who lost their lives, and to the many military Prisoners of War and civilian internees who suffered in captivity. Members of our current Armed Forces will again be paying tribute to those who fought before them as they did five years ago to mark the 70th anniversary. The 75th Anniversary of VJ Day falls on Saturday 15 August 2020 which means that there will be a significant amount of people with flexibility to mark the commemoration as they feel is best.

VJ Day commemorations are an opportunity for the nation to show their gratitude to these veterans and acknowledge the endurance and determination they showed in continuing the fight in the most challenging of environments to bring the Second World War to an ultimate end three months after VE Day. The Government has and will continue to commemorate VJ Day. The Ministry of Defence is working with stakeholders to develop a fitting commemorative programme to recognise this important community of veterans and those who lost their lives.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to commemorate a variety of occasions. Many have made compelling arguments that range from acknowledging religious festivals to celebrating key, momentous historical events. It is the duty of any responsible Government to judge the impact on both the overall economy and specific sectors when considering additional bank holidays. Whilst an additional bank holiday can help mark particular occasions and may benefit some communities and sectors, the costs to the economy is considerable and therefore there are no current plans to create another bank holiday. The most recent estimate following an impact assessment for the one-off bank holiday for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was £1.2 billion.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.