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Hollande gives reconciliation lesson

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

French President Francois Hollande said Friday in a speech to the Diet that he is concerned by the rising diplomatic tension in Asia and urged Japan to reconcile history issues with neighboring countries just as France and Germany did after World War II.

Hollande didn’t mention any specific countries, but he was apparently referring to the strained relationship with China.

“Tension has risen in this region, and I’m concerned about that,” Hollande told Diet members through a translator during a plenary session of the Upper House.

He stressed that diplomatic disputes should be settled “quietly,” based on international law.

Germany and France fought many wars against each other throughout history, but now “have become reliable friends,” Hollande said. “I think (the two countries) can be a model example for the world.”

He also said Japan and France will further deepen bilateral cooperation in developing nuclear safety technologies “in the post-Fukushima era.”

He said France and Japan should together keep pressuring Iran and North Korea to stop their nuclear weapons programs.

“I don’t believe there is any more serious threat to peace,” Hollande said.

He also noted many French people are greatly interested in Japanese culture, while 700,000 Japanese tourists visit France every year. “I’d like more (Japanese)” to come France if possible, he said.