World / Asia-Pacific

Abe urged to uphold historic statement on war apology

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-02-25 21:27

Abe urged to uphold historic statement on war apology

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacts as he speaks to the media at his official residence in Tokyo in this Oct 20, 2014 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been urged recently many times to clearly uphold the 1995 Murayama Statement.

The 1995 Murayama Statement offers an apology over the country' s wartime history. There are increasing concerns that Abe would use ambiguous wordings on the wrongdoings in a new statement planned to be issued this summer.

Masahiko Komura, vice-president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said Wednesday that Abe, also the LDP leader, should follow the world-recognized statement issued by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama at the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII in 1995, as well as the statement by Junichiro Koizumi in 2005.

Komura said at a press briefing in the LDP headquarter that the prime minister could better present a future Japan in his new statement if he could more clearly clarify that he inherits the two statements.

However, the LDP vice-president also said that he hopes the "Abe Statement" could put emphasis on how Japan is going to contribute to global peace and stability, adding the path Japan followed for 70 years since the end of WWII has clearly reflected the country's remorse, according to local reports.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the WWII and Abe said he will issue a new statement focusing on Japan's future contribution to world peace, but he maintains an ambiguous attitude toward the key wordings of "colonial rule" and "aggression" in the past statements.

"Rather than whether to use the wording we have repeated, I want to issue in light of how the Abe government considers the matter," Abe said in a TV program last month, referring to the wordings of his new statement.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also indicated earlier that Abe would change the expressions in his new statement, saying that "If it were the same, there would be no need to release a new statement."

Such comments by the Japanese leader and high ranking officials triggered concerns from neighboring countries that suffered Japan' s wartime aggression, especially South Korea and China. Both of the two have repeatedly urged Japan to face up to its wartime history as the Japanese rightist politicians are never giving up whitewashing the country's war atrocities.

Yohei Kono, former Chief Cabinet Secretary who is famous for his 1993 statement that offers apology to comfort women, Japan's euphuism for wartime sex slaveries forced by Japanese Imperial Army, on Tuesday also urged Abe to follow the Murayama Statement.

"There is no way that Japan's historical perception can have changed in 10 years. It is clear what kind of wording should be used in the statement" to be issued by Abe on the anniversary, Kono was quoted at a speech in Nagoya Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the former LDP lawmaker criticized current Japanese politics under the Abe's administration as a right-leaning one which differs from traditional Japan's conservative politics, showing his worries over Abe's governance.

Furthermore, he also said the Kono Statement that issued by himself in 1993 on the comfort women issue is based on some concrete cases of coercion, fighting against Abe's denial on "forcible recruitment."

A latest poll by the Yomiuri Shimbun released Tuesday said only 5 percent of respondents knew a lot about aggression wars launched by the Imperial Japan, including the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 and the Second World War, compared with 49 percent who said they either did not know much about them or had no knowledge of them.

The nationwide survey through mails from middle of January to middle of February also said that 81 percent of respondents thought that the path Japan follows since the end of WWII is a "peace-loving" one.

A Japanese lawyer who helps survivors of Chongqing Bombing during WWII ask compensation by the Japanese government told Xinhua Wednesday that people born at postwar era are increasing and they are getting unfamiliar with the aggression war waged by Japan.

"I think this is the Japanese government's responsibility because they don't educate people properly about our history. I think we should fix the situation soon. I think it is important to learn from the mistakes in the past and history so that we would realize the friendship with China," said lawyer Keiichiro Ichinose.

Besides, the Japanese Royal family also made unprecedented remarks to urge the government to correct its view on wartime history.

Prince Naruhito, following the Emperor Akihito who expressed similar meanings in early January, said Monday that it is important to "look back humbly on the past."

"I myself did not experience the war... but I think that it is important today, when memories of the war are fading, to look back humbly on the past and correctly pass on the tragic experiences and history Japan pursued from the generation which experienced the war to those without direct knowledge," he said.

On Wednesday, a 16-member panel helping shape the "Abe Statement" kicked off its first discussion and it is expected to submit a report to Abe by the summer.

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