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PM Abe poised to highlight future-oriented thinking in WWII statement

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

(Yomiuri: July 22, 2015 – p. 2)


 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is poised to highlight Japan’s future-oriented posture of making active contributions to the building of world peace, based on its history as a peaceful nation after World War II, in his statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II to be issued in August. However, if he forgoes including the expressions “apology” and “aggression” used in past statements issued by Japanese prime ministers, not only will China and the ROK react strongly, but this may also cause misunderstanding in the U.S.


 While Abe has stated repeatedly that he will “adhere in general” to the Murayama Statement on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Koizumi Statement on the 60th anniversary, he has tried very hard to obtain a free hand in choosing what expressions to use.


 During a BS Fuji TV program on April 20, he declared that “there will be no need to issue a statement if I will only be saying the same thing,” thus indicating his intent to place his personal stamp on the statement.


 The Murayama and Koizumi Statements both included the expressions “colonial rule and aggression,” “deep remorse,” and “heartfelt apology.”


 In his speeches overseas this year, Abe has mentioned “deep remorse” but not “apology.” He told his aides that if he uses the term “apology,” then he will have to continue to do so in the future. “It is necessary to stop at some point.”


 Abe is also reluctant to use “aggression” outright. He said at the House of Councillors Budget Committee in April 2013 that “the definition of aggression is still unestablished academically and internationally.”


 Abe’s remarks on the interpretation of history have given momentum to claims by China and the ROK that he is “not facing history squarely.” This has also prompted in the U.S. suspicions of “historical revisionism.”


 Therefore, in his speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, last April, Abe referred indirectly to aggression by citing the “Ten Principles of International Peace and Cooperation” enunciated at the Bandung Conference in 1955, which touched on “aggression.”


 However, there is also a strong opinion in Japan that he should talk about aggression in his own words. Shinichi Kitaoka, deputy chair of the Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and Japan’s Role and the World Order in the 21st Century advising Abe on his 70th anniversary statement, also asserts that the statement should include “aggression.”

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