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.