An unrepentant Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Friday reiterated claims that Koreans had chosen Japanese rule rather than face Chinese or Russian governance when Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula in 1910.
Speaking at a regular news conference, Ishihara again claimed that political leaders on the Korean Peninsula had made the decision to accept Japanese rule, which lasted until Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945.
According to Ishihara, Japan ruled its colony in a better fashion than Western nations, such as France, the Netherlands and the United States.
The governor noted that these developed countries had colonized other Asian nations — such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines — with arms.
“I have never known any nation other than Japan to introduce its education system to its colonies,” he said. “Japan offered poor people the opportunity to study at schools in the peninsula and Japan.”
Ishihara also attacked the media, accusing them of trying to distort his remarks without a sufficient knowledge of history.
“Japanese people know historical facts deeper (than the media), so they are not clamoring against my remark,” he said.
On Tuesday, Ishihara told a support group meeting for families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents that Japan had not invaded Korea with arms.
Although Japan should not fully justify its annexation of the peninsula, the Koreans at that time were responsible for the historical chapter in question, he said.
Both pro-Pyongyang and pro-Seoul organizations in Japan have submitted papers to the metropolitan government stating that the governor has distorted historical facts to create a gulf between Japanese and Koreans.
North Korea’s official news agency on Friday called Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s recent remarks about Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula in 1910 “shameful.”
Referring to Ishihara’s claim that the Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty justified Japanese colonial and military occupation of Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday said the remarks “totally denied Japan’s invasion of Korea . . . and revealed its intention to justify its past crimes and repeat them.”
Ishihara was quoted by KCNA as telling a gathering of supporters of Japanese abducted to North Korea that “Japan had not invaded Korea by force of arms” and the two countries “agreed on the annexation according to the unanimous will of the Koreans.”
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