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Differences remain as panel compiles recommendation on Abe’s WWII statement

  • 2015-07-22 15:00:00
  • , Asahi
  • Translation

(Asahi: July 22, 2015 – p. 3)


 By Takashi Funakoshi


 The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and Japan’s Role and the World Order in the 21st Century working on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II held its seventh meeting on July 21. The panel agreed to entrust Chairman Taizo Nishimuro, president of Japan Post Holdings, and Deputy Chairman Shinichi Kitaoka, president of the International University of Japan, with the drafting of its report, which is expected to be released in early August.


 Abe also attended the meeting on July 21 to exchange views on the report. After the meeting, Nishimuro told reporters: “We are in the final stage of review. The Prime Minister expressed appreciation for our work.” However, Nishimuro did not say when the report will be released, stating, “We are gauging the right timing” because “there are still a few points that need to be coordinated.”


 A senior government official observed that it “will not be possible” to issue the report in July, indicating that it is likely to be delayed until early August. According to a government source, panel members differ on the expressions to be used in the English version.


 Interpretation of the history of World War II has been the main focus of the panel’s discussions over a period of five months.


 With regard to the definition of “aggression,” there was an opinion that “the statement needs to convey the Prime Minister’s interpretation of history – his thinking on the past war, particularly with regard to whether it was aggression or not.”


 The expression “mistaken national policy” used in the Murayama Statement was also debated. One panel member remarked: “The proposition that Japan made a mistake in the past is widely shared in the panel. I hope this will also be reflected in the report.”


 Another major theme was the difficulty of reconciliation with China, the ROK, and other Asian countries.


 Many panel members asked China and the ROK to make concessions, noting that “at present, China and the ROK do not seem to realize that reconciliation is in their interest.” They also noted, “Reconciliation is only possible with both apology and forgiveness. A process where these two factors come to pass is important.”


 On the other hand, several panel members asked the government to make further efforts on the comfort women issue, saying, “While this issue is legally settled, we must find ways to provide emotional consolation.” They also said, “Although the Japanese prime minister has apologized repeatedly, the feeling of remorse may not be sufficient. If Japan is truly sorry as a country, it will show in its education.”


 With regard to Japan-U.S. relations, panel members expressed the opinion that “hard feelings over the war still remain between Japan and the U.S.” and “it can hardly be said that historical memories are no longer an issue.” (Abridged)

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