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National service marks VJ day anniversary
Tokyo’s close ally the United States welcomed Abe’s commitment to uphold apologies made in the past.
Parts of Abe’s speech were suitably humble.
It was an epic struggle, and it did not end peacefully, either at home or overseas.
“Recalling the past with profound remorse over the previous war and sincerely hoping that the tragedy of war is never repeated, I, together with people across the nation, express my heartfelt sorrow toward those who fell in battle, and pray for the further development of our country and world peace”, he said in a speech in Tokyo. He acknowledged that Japan inflicted “immeasurable damage and suffering”.
The war still haunts Japan’s relations with China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan’s sometimes brutal occupation and colonial rule before Tokyo’s defeat in 1945.
Japan’s current administration has repeatedly been accused of taking a conservative approach to its imperialist deeds, such as the sexual enslavement of thousands of Korean women. China’s Xinhua news agency called it insincere.
His words have been viewed by leaders and media of several neighboring countries as a watered-down apology that evades direct responsibility for Japan’s past actions.
Whenever a senior Japanese leader speaks of the war, he must parse out what will create offense because he can not satisfy both his domestic and worldwide audiences.
For decades, Japan has made repeated apologies, with some prime ministers personally expressing regrets for the nation’s aggression in the war. But Abe fell short in this respect. He is expected to visit Beijing early next month and a summit meeting may take place there.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman urged Korea to forget the past atrocities committed by Japan and get on with the future.
All this doesn’t mean the Prime Minister should not have apologised again in his 70th anniversary statement. His party has held power 56 of the past 60 years. Today, however, Hong Kong’s people are not hostile to Japan.
“The Japanese government should admit their false stance on the Diaoyu Islands, refrain from visiting the Yasukuni Shrine and stop revising textbooks to gloss over history“, said Massachusetts Sanyi, a 90-year-old war veteran from Hunan Province in Central China.
The statement “will not make things worse “between the two” and there was “a much more positive tone this year” from Korea “than what you saw coming out of China” in assessing Abe’s remarks, Smith said”. Members of his cabinet visited in person that afternoon.
Most were forced into slave labour on the infamous Burma to Thailand “Death Railway”, built to transport Japanese troops and supplies. A number of high-ranking figures visit China from all around the world to attend its WWII Victory Day ceremony, which means that the Chinese government has an opportunity to resolve a series of diplomatic issues at a stretch.