Hatoyama mourns Korean independence activists in Seoul


Visiting former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama mourned Korean independence activists at a history museum in Seoul on Wednesday.

At the museum, on the site of a prison where Korean activists against Japanese colonial rule were interned, Hatoyama took off his shoes in front of a monument for them, laid flowers, knelt down, joined his hands in prayer and bowed his head, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

“I would like to sincerely apologize for the fact that many independence activists were placed in the prison, tortured and even lost their lives under Japan’s colonial rule,” Hatoyama said at a press conference.

Regarding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, which is scheduled to be released on Friday, Hatoyama expressed his view that Japan’s colonial rule over South Korea and aggression to China must be included in the statement as a historical fact.

An apology and an expression of remorse must also be included in the statement, he added.

Documents about the activists at that time and how they were tortured are exhibited at the history museum.

  • zer0_0zor0

    Good for Hatoyama; maybe he should make a comeback.

  • AJ

    Wow, someone who gets it. Good for him.

  • Richard Solomon

    Hatoyama grasps the importance of engaging in acts of contrition. Ie, it takes more than words of apology to demonstrate one’s sincerity in situations like these. I wonder how Abe and his fellow nationalists feel about this kind of ‘masochism?’.

    KUDOS to Hatoyama for his moral courage, statesmanship, and leadership!

  • Greg Nixon

    Do not mean to be vulgar, but this is a different world than that of colonial Japan with different players and different tensions. It’s time South Korea took its head out of its a** – I mean “out of the past” – and began to see the vital importance of allying with a newly re-empowered Japan. China is the expansionist dragon that both need to fear.

  • Ahojanen

    Is it even newsworthy? No Japanese would never be surprised if Hatoyama joins ISIL or heads to North Korea seeking a political asylum :)

  • tisho

    I am not calling him a traitor, that’s what every Japanese on the internet is saying, judging by all the comments i’ve seen so far. They are calling him a traitor because he is apologizing to the inferior enemy. Japan is superior and has nothing to apologize for to Korea, therefore this guy apologizing on his knees makes Japan looks weak and bending to the demands of Korea. That’s how they see it.

  • Hendrix

    Sadly the far right wing (ruling elite) in Japan undermined Hatoyama and got him out of his job as PM… too much truth and honesty doesnt go very far in Japan.

  • GIJ

    It should be pointed out here that if any one country or entity played a leading role in torpedoing Hatoyama’s tenure as Japanese prime minister and bringing it to a premature end after less than one year, that entity was the government of the United States. The US government, whether led by a Democratic or Republican president, has not reacted well to left-of-center governments ruling in either South Korea or Japan.

    George W. Bush treated left-wing South Korean presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun in an absolutely disgraceful manner. But the Obama administration’s reaction to the Hatoyama government in Japan back in 2009 and 2010 was not much better and in some ways just as bad.