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Roundup: Abe's anni. statement remains unclear on whether to offer apology

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 21:01, August 10, 2015

TOKYO, Aug. 10 -- Japanese media reported contradictorily Monday over whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's planned statement will include keywords of "aggression and colonial rule" and "apology," but all said Abe may make final changes of his statement before it is approved by his cabinet.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported that the draft of the prime minister's statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will include all keywords of "aggression and colonial rule," "apology" and "deep remorse" that were used in the previous governments' statements.

The key wordings were used firstly by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in his landmark 1995 statement that admitted Japan's wrong national policy led to its aggression against Japan' s Asian neighbors and offered an apology to victim countries for the wartime atrocities.

NHK cited an unnamed source saying that "the draft contains the expressions 'apology' and 'aggression' as well as 'deep remorse' and 'colonial rule'," adding that Abe is discussing the draft with senior officials of the ruling coalition.

However, Japan's Mainichi Shimbun reported Monday that the draft did not clearly mention the keyword of "apology," referring to a meeting between the prime minister and senior ruling bloc officials on Friday.

Abe said in the meeting that he will follow the 1995 Murayama Statement and 2005 Koizumi Statement as a whole, but he did not clearly talked about "apology," according to the newspaper.

One of Japan's leading daily the Asahi Shimbun reported Sunday that the draft of the upcoming Abe's statement "does not include ' apology' for Japan's role in WWII."

Asahi said that "the draft included the word 'remorse' for the war," but noted that the words of "colonial rule" and "aggression" were "not clearly explained to the junior coalition partner's satisfaction."

The newspaper noted that a Komeito member asked Abe to put " aggression" in a clear context since the statement should clearly address why Japan is showing remorse and what Japan is showing remorse for.

Abe will issue his statement on Friday after seeking cabinet's endorsement. He reiterated that he will not repeat the keywords that were used in the Murayama Statement and his version will focus on Japan's future contribution to world peace and what Japan has done in the past 70 years since the end of WWII.

Last Week, a panel to the prime minister on his statement mentioned in its report the country's wartime aggression and colonial rule, but stopped short of whether the prime minister should apologize for the atrocities in his upcoming statement.

The report said in its note that the definition of "aggression" was questioned by some of its members since "the definition of ' aggression' has not been established under international law;" " there is objection from a historical perspective to stating that the series of events from the Manchurian Incident onward constituted 'aggression;'" and "there is a sense of reluctance towards stating that only the actions of Japan constituted ' aggression' while other countries were taking similar actions."

Japan's rightwing Sankei Shimbun reported Monday that the word of "aggression" would be referred to in a context of a universally unforgivable act, rather than Japan's wartime wrongdoings.

"He may very well denounce 'aggression' and 'colonial rule' in general, and refer to the 'remorse' and 'apologies' of previous governments," Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at the Sophia University, said on his Twitter, referring to the NHK story.

"Murayama exprssd (expressed) remorse and apologies for J's ( Japan's) colonial rule and aggression. Abe may revise it by keeping the words but breaking the logic," added the professor.

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