“Some of the people will have had families that suffered in the war across the Pacific and it’s really just recognising that it’s best not to forget these things and hopefully one day we’ll all start to learn the lessons of our past, and avoid quite as many conflicts as we’ve had”. In 1995, Socialist Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama focused overseas when extending his “heartfelt apology” for atrocities his country committed in World War Two.
But they were more divided about a World War II anniversary speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that drew criticism from China and South Korea. Still, future generations can’t be expected to keep apologizing, he said.
In his Friday statement, Abe said Japan must not allow its future generations to be predestined to apologize, which would hardly soothe the neighbors’ suspicion and rage.
Akihito also emphasized that Japan’s peace and prosperity stand on “the people’s tireless endeavors and their earnest desire for peace”, and renewed his war-renouncing pledge. Three members of Abe’s cabinet and 67 members of parliament went inside to pray. “I would like to reiterate that what the Chinese side has invited the leader of the relevant country to is the “September 3″ commemorative activities”, the Spokesperson’s Office of Foreign Ministry said.
A Japanese journalist cited in a Washington Post report described the remarks as “unprecedented”, and it has been suggested that the emperor has shown a subtle opposition to Abe’s “aggressive form of pacifism” when it comes to commenting on the nation’s wartime past.
The United States had detonated an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945.
Tokyo and Seoul have long been at odds over the issue of comfort women, with South Korea saying Japan has not done enough to atone for their suffering despite a 1993 apology.
He donated Shinto-style religious ornaments for the Yasukuni shrine, as he has done in the past since his last visit in December 2013, which triggered uproar from China and South Korea.
The lawmakers said they wanted to pay respects to those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Abe is undermining the rest of the world’s definition of democracy by passing secrecy laws, expanding the role of Japan’s military in defiance of popular wishes and trying to rein in the media.
“We must never forget that there were women behind the battlefields whose honor and dignity were severely injured”, he said.
Japan says the matter was settled in the 1965 bilateral agreement that restored diplomatic ties between the two nations, which saw Tokyo make a total payment of $800 million in grants or loans to its former colony.
But his scant reference to the 35-year occupation of Korea and the practice of forcing women into military brothels may be a tension point.