(Sankei: July 22, 2015 – p. 1)
The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and Japan’s Role and the World Order in the 21st Century (known as the 21st Century Panel; chaired by Taizo Nishimuro, president of Japan Post Holdings) advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II to be issued in August held its final meeting before compiling its report at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence on July 21. The report is expected to recommend not including the word “apology” that was used in previous World War II statements and focusing instead on future-oriented expressions.
However, there was also an opinion that the past war should be explicitly referred to as “aggression,” so last-minute coordination is still underway. Nishimuro and his colleagues will submit their report to the Prime Minister as soon as early August.
Nishimuro and his deputy, International University of Japan President Shinichi Kitaoka presented their draft report to the meeting. Based on discussions so far at six meetings on such themes as “lessons to be learned from the experience of the 20th Century,” “postwar reconciliation with Europe, America, China, and the ROK,” and “Japan’s international contribution in the 21st Century,” recommendations regarding the promotion of international contribution and improvement of history education were also added to the report.
While panel members commented on what needs to be included in the recommendations and on wording — such as “aggression” — in the end, Nishimuro and Kitaoka were entrusted with finalizing the report. Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga were also present at the meeting.
Throughout the panel’s meetings, there has been a strong opinion favoring the inclusion in the 70th anniversary statement Japan’s determination to continue to make international contributions through its technology and official development assistance (ODA). Members of the panel all agreed that compromise by China and the ROK is also indispensable for reconciliation with these two countries. The majority favored focusing on future-oriented expressions rather than an “apology” in the statement. (Slightly abridged)