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Hatoyama mourns Korean independence activists in Seoul

JIJI

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!

    • tisho

      This news was trending on Twitter. Open the hashtag and read the twitter comments, then look at the comments of all the online news that reported on this. I can sum it all up in one sentence; He’s a traitor.

      • Honibaz

        Right, because admitting your home country’s historical faults makes you a traitor.

  • 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.

    • Eric Cartman

      ” no future to people who forget history.” I bet all you learned is holocaust. You don’t know what those people went through and if you were there, you wouldn’t say that.

      • Greg Nixon

        History is being made *now*. People who dwell on past hurts are unable to deal effectively with the present. Ye gods, the Croats and Serbs still hate each other over a battle of 500 years ago. The old Japanese empire is dead. Dead and gone. Time to wake up to reality and deal with what needs to be dealt with NOW.

      • Eric Cartman

        oh really? the old japanese empire is dead? Is that why they are still flying the rising sun flag? It seems like you don’t understand how serious this problem is. How can you be friends with people who murdered and raped your families? You know what pisses me off is that you can still fly the rising sun flag in the united states and most people won’t know the meaning but if you fly the nazi flag, now you are in trouble. That tells me everything how most of americans are uneducated. Now go say that to people who suffered from the holocaust and see what happens. Is the germany saluting the nazis? no. But the japanese governement is still saluting their war criminals. Stay out of this topic if you don’t know how serious this problem is.

      • Greg Nixon

        Eric Cartman, you clearly are among the people stuck looking backwards over past grievances. It would do you good to take your head out from your a*s – from its neurotic obsessions – and look honestly at the new world unfolding around and before you. I have as much right to be on this topic as you do. Maybe more, for I see the real threats of today, and do not expect modern nations to stay guilty over past transgressions of past empire ages.

      • Eric Cartman

        The only way they are going to solve this problem is by stop saluting their war criminals and educate their citizens what they did wrong. It’s not only Korea that hates the Japanese Government. Look back the history and learn. Poland hated Germany until they sincerely apologized and gave part of their land. (and now they are best friends!) The Japanese government is doing the opposite. They are claiming that Dokdo (korean island) belongs to them when it isn’t. Why are you siding with the Japanese? Because of Hollywood movies and what you learned in high school? Dude wake up!

      • Greg Nixon

        You really are “Cartman”. Dude, wake yourself up and stop living with the burden of the past muffling your intelligence. China is the mutual enemy of both S. Korea and Japan, so they need to form an alliance.

      • Eric Cartman

        re read my comment. I never said south korea shouldn’t side with Japan. I explained you how they could become friends.

      • Greg Nixon

        Okay, sorry for being rude in response to rudeness. Looking backwards: It’s like when a couple has a quarrel. The worst thing they can is go over what was said and who said what and when. The rehashing just puts them back into the fight, not healing anything. But if they agree to make nice, to “forgive and forget”, they can heal and go forward united in their shared good intentions. I think it’s that way with nations too. Peace out.

      • JYP

        You mean to say siding with a newly re-empowered Japan so that they can “conquer” South Korea again with another sick, twisted “justification” to “educate” the “poor idiots” who know nothing? Do you know that the current Japanese emperor has Korean blood running through his body? Even the Japanese know it, but they won’t admit it because they think they are “SUPERIOR”. Do you KNOW that they teach their children WRONG history by distoring FACTS??!! Tell the poor ladies who were EATEN by japanese soldiers during the war that siding with Japan will be the best thing! Tell the ladies who were victimised and traumatised during the war to stop thinking about it and move on!! Would you tell your grandmother if she was one of them?

      • Greg Nixon

        You’re making a terrible mistake, JYP. You too need to take your head out of the ass of the past – and, clearly, get through your own personal issues – and accept that the world today is not the same world 1940, 70 years ago! Yes, it’s wrong to distort known facts in history books, but S. Korea does it too. It’s something to work on. Right NOW, Japan and S. Korea – who really do share a lot of common bloodlines – need to forgive and move on in a strong alliance. People who live full of resentment, anger, or fear from past events are not really living in the present at all. You need to wake up, my friend.

      • JYP

        Dude, everyone KNOWS that what has been done cannot be undone. And It’s NOT what South Koreans want! How can South Koreans FORGIVE if the Japanese DO NOT think that’ve done anything WRONG??!!! Distorting facts is something to work on? Tell Abe Shinzo that and let me know what he has to say about that. Jesus, all Japan has to do is just APOLOGISE SINCERELY just like Germany. Is that so hard???!!!
        By the way, you did NOT answer my question: Would you tell your grandmother to WAKE UP if she was raped by Japanese soldiers? Yeah, I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded that at all because she needs to forgive and move on!

      • Greg Nixon

        “Dude” if all the rapists were dead or too old to matter any longer, there’d be need to take revenge. Taking revenge or shaming their descendants would serve no purpose. Yes, I’d tell my Granny that. Shinzō Abe’s recent admission that crimes of war were committed by the Japanese empire and military some 75 years ago should be enough for anyone. He even stated he regrets the events of the past. Regret or sorry, same thing. Point is that Abe was not even around when such things happened. It’s been several generations since then and it’s whole new world order. And, yes, Japan is a democracy. Get over it. Move on. It’s what the republic of Japan wants to do.

      • JYP

        So the Germans must be extremely stupid for their constant apologising, eh? If you don’t see any difference between the Germans and the Japanese, you are so much worse than I originally thought you were.
        So if criminals are dead or out of it, then it doesn’t matter what they did? Do you think this is about revenge or shaming the criminals’ descendents? Jesus, you’re so not getting it, are you? Haven’t you ever noticed that the Japanese rightwingers want Koreans out of their country, that they want to kill all Koreans in their country? They think and say that what those war criminals did was righteous and can be justified. So Korea should say, “Yeah, you did the right thing! Bravo! Sure, do it again!”
        Are you going to say the same about the neo-Nazis in Germany?
        And whoever said anything about Japan being a democracy??? Where did that come from???
        In your perfect “forget & forgive world”, there won’t be any room for law, justice, or anything like that, eh?
        Well, good for you & no need to continue this silly conversation, I suppose.

      • Greg Nixon

        Japan *is* a democracy. So, apparently, is S. Korea. The two should be allies, someday friends. You with your bigotry based on the crimes of another era are the perfect example of all that’s wrong in Far Eastern politics today. Too much ancestry worship. Too much looking backwards in time and blaming the “bad guy” while imagining your own nation as blameless. Every person, every nation, had gone off the tracks and done wrong. Get over it. Save what we have today by working together. Your paranoia will create evil, mark my words.

      • JYP

        You’re not answering any of my questions and of course I assume you can’t! FYI Japan DOES NOT want to be “friends” w/ Korea. And there is NO ancestry worship. Korea is to be blamed for the Japanese occupation? Off tracks and done wrong? Yeah ON PURPOSE! Sure, look what’s happening in Africa. The white people drew random lines on the map and said “This is yours, that’s yours.” Why do you think there are constant wars going on there? Sure, those Africans deserved it. You will NEVER understand any of this.

      • Greg Nixon

        Japan does want to be allies “friends” with S. Korea. It’s to both nations’ interest. Nobody said Korea is to blame for the occupation, but, wake up, it’s over. Time to deal with the real world. (The United States is much more integrated than the news seems to indicate, by the way.)

  • 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.