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16 experts appointed to panel to discuss new history statement

  • 2015-02-20 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
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(Asahi: February 20, 2015 – p. 3)


 Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga disclosed at a press conference on Feb. 19 the 16 members of a panel to discuss the contents a statement to be issued this year by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Japan Post Holdings President Taizo Nishimuro, 79, will likely chair the panel, which will hold its first meeting on Feb. 25. The panel will conclude its discussions by around this summer and report on them to Abe. Then Abe will formulate a statement based on the panel’s report.


 At the press conference, Suga said, “Remorse for the war, Japan’s path as a peace-loving nation, and how to contribute to the Asia-Pacific region and the world. We hope to gather wisdom and write a statement that can be conveyed to the world.”


 Nishimuro served as co-chair of the New Japan-China Friendship Committee for 21st Century. International University of Japan President Shinichi Kitaoka, 66, who is close to Abe, will serve as deputy head. He served as acting chair of Abe’s advisory panel on Japan’s right to collective self-defense.


 Other panel members include: Terumasa Nakanishi, 67, professor emeritus at Kyoto University for international politics, who is close to Abe; Mitsubishi Corporation Chairman Yorihiko Kojima, 73, who serves as vice chairman of the Japan Business Federation [Keidanren]; former Foreign Ministry officials — Yukio Okamoto, 69, and Kunihiko Miyake, 61; and Masahi Nishihara, former president of the National Defense Academy. The panel also includes Keiko Iizuka, the U.S. bureau chief of Yomiuri Shimbun, and Takao Yamada, a senior staff writer at Mainichi Shimbun.


 Suga explained that the panel’s purpose is “not to write the statement.” He went on to say, “The government wants to hear their opinions to consider the specific contents of the statement.” He also emphasized that the government is responsible for drawing up the statement.


 Panel members selected from a wide range of sectors


 Abe has expressed his intention to issue a statement and set up a panel of experts soon after the inauguration of his second administration. Abe’s aide revealed that “the Prime Minister has been hoping to issue a new future-oriented statement since the launch of his first government, and he has been thinking about how to gain public understanding.” When the Murayama statement to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Koizumi statement to mark the 60th anniversary of the war’s end were issued, a panel of experts was not formed. A former high-level official of the Koizumi cabinet said, “I don’t understand why an expert panel is set up when a prime minister issues a statement.”


 Following Abe’s announcement of the creation of a panel of experts during his New Year’s press conference in January, the Prime Minister’s Office [Kantei] started the selection of panel members. At the press conference yesterday, Suga said, “Since we need to listen to a broad range of opinions, we chose people from diverse backgrounds as members of the panel.” He emphasized that Kantei placed importance on balance in selecting the panel members.


 Abe has said that he will “uphold as a whole” the Murayama and Koizumi statements, which included such expressions as “aggression” and “heartfelt apology.” Attention is now focused on to what extent Abe’s personal views will be reflected in the new statement.


 Some members in the ruling parties are voicing concern about the possibility of the new statement being very different from the past statements. Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi yesterday put pressure on the government, by saying, “We suggested building a consensus so that the meaning of the new statement will not be completely different. I believe that they will give consideration to that in handling the situation.” (Slightly abridged)


 16 members of advisory panel to PM Abe

Taizo Nishimuro

President, Japan Post Holdings Co.

Shinichi Kitaoka

President, International University of Japan

Keiko Iizuka

U.S. bureau chief, Yomiuri Shimbun

Yukio Okamoto

Representative, Okamoto Associates

Makoto Kawashima

Associate professor, University of Tokyo

Yorihiko Kojima

Chairman, Mitsubishi Corporation

Keiko Kojo

Professor, University of Tokyo

Takashi Shiraishi

President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Rumiko Seya

President, Japan Center for Conflict Prevention (NPO)

Terumasa Nakanishi

Professor emeritus, Kyoto University

Masahi Nishihara

President, Research Institute for Peace and Security

Masahi Haneda

Vice president, University of Tokyo

Yoshito Hori

President, Globis University Graduate School of Management

Kunihiko Miyake

Guest professor, Ritsumeikan University

Masayuki Yamauchi

Specially appointed professor, Meiji University

Takao Yamada

Senior staff writer, Mainichi Shimbun

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