Tokyo - Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday in parliament that he would work to improve the strained relations with China and South Korea and endeavor to build future-oriented relations with them.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, chats with Foreign Minister Taro Aso prior to the opening of a Parliament session in Tokyo Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006. Abe, the new outspoken nationalist prime minister, is soaring in public opinion polls with support ratings for his Cabinet as high as 71 percent, according to surveys released Thursday by four major newspapers. [AP]
Abe reiterated that China and South Korea are "important neighbors," with whom Japan should strengthen dialogues and cooperation and establish future-oriented ties.
On the stance of Japan's wartime history, Abe said that there should be "frank" reflections on the fact that the war had brought huge damage both at home and abroad.
He honored the then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono's apologies, made in 1993 over the fact that Japan had forced women from other Asian countries to be sex slaves during World War II.
The premier, Japan's first to be born after WWII, also clarified his intention of revising the 1947 constitution.
"It was set when Japan was under US occupation. Sixty years have passed since then and it has become unsuitable to today's reality," Abe said when questioned in the upper house of parliament.
"It is necessary for us to draft our own constitution that proclaims our ideals and the Japanese way to fit the 21st century," he said.