SEOUL – Japan plans to issue a new statement on history in 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an interview with a South Korean magazine that hit newsstands Monday.
Abe was quoted by the Monthly Chosun as saying the new statement should be issued to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Japan last issued a statement on history in 1995, when then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama offered “deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology” to people, particularly in Asia, whose suffering was caused by Japan’s colonial rule and invasion of Asia.
The Murayama statement was issued on Aug. 15, 1995, the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender.
In the interview on March 2, Abe said he will listen to the opinions of experts and historians about the recognition of history over such issues as the “comfort women” — the women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops.
The prime minister stressed that he has no intention to make them diplomatic and political issues, he was quoted as saying.
Abe rebutted the view spreading in South Korea that he and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which he heads, are tilted to the far right, because Abe and the party want Japan to exert its right to collective defense and redefine the Self-Defense Forces as a formal military for defense, using a new name that in Japanese has stronger connotations.
The magazine quoted Abe as saying the moves are aimed at setting a security framework similar to ones adopted by many other nations, including South Korea.
Remains handed over
Residents of a village in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua on Monday handed over more than 9,000 bone fragments apparently from Japanese soldiers who died in western New Guinea World War II.
Witnessed by six representatives of the next of kin of the dead soldiers, as well as government representatives from Indonesia and Japan, the remains, found in the village of Puay in the Jayapura and Sarmi regencies, were cremated in Puay.
Puay village chief Balsazar Doyapo, a relative, and Japanese delegation chief Toshinobu Tsuchimoto symbolically torched the wood to commence the three-hour cremation process.
The Japanese Embassy in Jakarta said representatives of the Japanese government and the nonprofit organization Pacific War History Museum will bring the cremated remains back to Japan on Thursday.