The House of Representatives adopted on Tuesday a resolution for the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II that says Japan expresses “deep regret” over its past conduct, but it does not use the terms “colonial rule” and “acts of aggression” that were in the 1995 resolution.

The resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority of members from the Liberal Democratic Party, its governing coalition partner New Komeito, and two opposition parties, the Democratic Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party.

The Japanese Communist Party opposed the resolution, saying it does not contain any signs the nation is remorseful over its actions during the war.

The resolution praises the U.N. for its efforts to create and maintain peace in the postwar era. It urges the government to do its utmost to eliminate nuclear weapons, avoid every war and pursue the realization of a “world union” under the principle of permanent peace embraced by the Constitution.

Former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma and several conservative lawmakers boycotted the session, saying it is questionable whether the Diet should pass a resolution on the nation’s wartime history because the public is divided on the interpretation of events.

A similar resolution was adopted a decade ago to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, with backing from the LDP and its coalition partners, the Socialist Party and New Party Sakigake, now both defunct.

The JCP opposed that resolution also and members of the now-defunct opposition New Frontier Party abstained from voting.

The 1995 Diet resolution mentions “colonial rule” and “acts of aggression” in “expressing a sense of deep regret” for what Japan did to its Asian neighbors.

Tuesday’s resolution does not include these explicit terms, but instead states, “We recollect the resolution of a decade ago, which made a fresh resolve to (keep) the peace, and deeply reflect on the nation’s conduct in the past, which inflicted enormous difficulty on many people, not only in Asia” but also in other parts of the world.

The DPJ proposed the phrase “we recollect the resolution of a decade ago,” saying that without it the Diet would appear to be backpedaling on the nation’s responsibility for its wartime aggression in Asia.

Yasukuni visit urged

Groups of conservative lawmakers and citizens urged Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Aug. 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the end of the World War II.

The joint statement was made by a nonpartisan lawmakers group, a Liberal Democratic Party members’ group and three citizens’ groups, despite strong protests from China and South Korea against the prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni.

“The prime minister must visit Yasukuni Shrine since he made a public commitment” in his campaign in 2001 for president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said former trade minister Takeo Hiranuma, who chairs the 235-member lawmakers group.

In the statement, the five groups “strongly protest against any intervention into (Japan’s) internal affairs by China and South Korea over the prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni,” and oppose removing the names of 14 Class-A war criminals from the shrine and establishing a new national memorial for the war dead.

They also said 200,000 people should visit Yasukuni on Aug. 15. Koizumi has visited the controversial shrine annually since taking office in April 2001, but never on Aug. 15.

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