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History panel members split over use of word “aggression”

  • 2015-03-24 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: March 24, 2015 – p. 4)


 The government posted on the Prime Minister’s Office [Kantei] website on March 23 the gist of minutes of the second round of discussions of the government blue-ribbon commission tasked with providing input on a special history statement that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to issue this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. According to the minutes, Acting Chairman Shinichi Kitaoka, president of the International University of Japan, and Naoya Okuwaki, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, who attended the meeting as an outside expert, expressed their views at the beginning of the meeting. Kitaoka commented on WWII by saying: “Since Japan waged a reckless war by failing to accurately read the global trends of the time, a large number of causalities were produced mainly in Asia.”


 The second round of discussions was held on March 13 and was titled, “Lessons to be learned from the nation’s experiences in the 20th century.”


 Kitaoka said: “I have to say that the leaders of the Japanese government and military in the 1930s and beyond bear a grave responsibility indeed.” Okuwaki commented on the definition of the word “aggression” by saying: “I don’t think it can be said that the international community has found complete common ground on it even now.”


 The following views were posted on the website as the views of panel members whose names were not identified in the minutes: “It was aggression in view of the values of that time” and “It goes without saying that it was aggression based on international law and the word aggression should be used.” On the other hand, another member commented: “I have doubts about whether it could be concluded that it was a war of aggression based on today’s values.”

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