Kishida urges China talks, assures on apologies

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called again Tuesday for China to agree to a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping.

Kishida said the Abe Cabinet has “inherited” the views of its predecessors regarding Japanese colonial rule and wartime action in the first half of the 20th century “in their basic points.”

“We have never denied the Kono statement, the Murayama statement or the various statements issued by Cabinets,” he told a news conference, mentioning by name the two landmark statements by the government in the 1990s that Japan’s neighbors consider to be the symbol of national contrition over its deeds.

Kishida’s appeal followed the further straining of relations with China by Abe’s visit to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine last month.

The 1993 government statement issued by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono acknowledged the Japanese military’s responsibility for the forced recruitment of females into wartime sexual servitude and apologized to the victims, while the 1995 statement issued by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia.

“We hope to realize high-level political dialogue soon,” Kishida said.

No summit has been held between Abe and Chinese leaders since he returned as prime minister in December 2012.

Abe’s visit to the Tokyo shrine, which honors Japanese leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals after World War II as well as people who died in wars involving Japan, has drawn criticism from Japan’s Asian neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, because they see the Shinto shrine as a symbol of Japanese militarism.