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Emperor mentions remorse, Abe vows not to repeat tragedy of war at anniversary ceremony

All papers front-paged reports on the GOJ-sponsored ceremony held in Tokyo on Aug. 15 to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII. Emperor Akihito stated in his address at the ceremony: “Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated.” Prime Minister Abe stressed in his address that Japan will never again “repeat the devastation of war.” However, the premier did not mention Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia in his speech for the fourth straight year.

 

Noting that both Abe and Defense Minister Inada forwent visiting Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of the end of the war, Asahi speculated that the Abe administration gave consideration to China and South Korea in view of China’s hosting of a G20 summit in September and the ongoing efforts by Tokyo and Seoul to make progress on the comfort women issue. Other papers expressed similar views, with Mainichi adding that Tokyo also paid deference to the U.S., which calls for stability in East Asia.

 

According to Yomiuri, China’s Foreign Ministry posted on its website a spokesperson’s comment expressing Beijing’s firm disapproval of the visits to Yasukuni on Aug. 15 by two cabinet ministers – Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi and Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympics Marukawa – by saying that the visits once again revealed the Japanese government’s wrong attitude toward the history issue. A spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry of South Korea released a statement expressing deep concern and regret over the visits by the cabinet ministers. The statement added that the ROK urges Japanese politicians to make efforts to gain the trust of neighboring countries by squarely facing history. Nikkei wrote that the statements issued by Beijing and Seoul were subdued.

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