(Sankei: November 3, 2015 – p. 5)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared on a BS Fuji program on the evening of Nov. 2. During this TV show, he said that he refuted Premier Li Keqiang’s criticism of Japan over the history issues at the Japan-China summit on Nov. 1, telling him: “Learning lessons from history, Japan has been a free and peaceful country under the rule of law that respects human rights.” Following is the gist of his remarks on the program:
We discussed not only history issues, but also agreed to resume talks on resource development in the East China Sea and make efforts to launch the maritime and air liaison mechanism at an early date. We also agreed on holding high-level economic talks and an exchange of visits between the two foreign ministers. This is major progress. Strengthening Japan-China economic cooperation is also a request of the global community.
I had been saying that precisely because there are various issues, leaders need to engage in a candid exchange of views without setting conditions. A meeting was finally realized. We are now at the starting line of building a new Japan-ROK relationship. Both sides asserted their positions. I asked [President Park] to deal with various pending issues (including the issue of the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul Bureau chief).
There is no denying that the comfort women issue is an obstacle in the Japan-ROK relationship. Japan’s position remains that all claims had been settled completely and finally by the 1965 Japan-ROK agreement. That said, while it will be difficult to find a solution acceptable to the people of both countries, it should be possible to find a meeting point through negotiations.
No (solution) has been decided. The important thing is that after an agreement is reached, the issue should not be raised again. We must make sure that the issue will not be taken up with each change of administration.
South China Sea situation
U.S. actions are in line with international law. Both Japan and the ROK are U.S. allies. There is a common basis for Japan, the U.S., and the ROK to work together.