S. Korean legislature resolution slams Japan over militaristic backtracking


South Korea’s National Assembly has adopted a resolution slamming Japan’s “recent moves to glorify its militaristic past,” the Yonhap news agency reported.

The resolution passed the assembly Monday with 238 votes in support from the 239 members at the session, the South Korean news agency said. One member abstained.

“(The Japanese Cabinet’s) irrational and rash acts and words are a diplomatic provocation with serious negative consequences for future-oriented ties between South Korea and Japan and the establishment of peace in Northeast Asia,” the Yonhap agency quoted the resolution as stating.

It also calls on “responsible” Japanese to stop paying respects to war criminals and stop making “absurd” statements that “deny a past that cannot be denied.”

“We strongly urge (Japan) to apologize sincerely and reflect deeply on Japan’s past, which caused extreme pain to numerous people,” the resolution says, according to Yonhap.

Tension between South Korea and Japan escalated last week after some Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, visited Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. The controversial shrine honors the country’s war dead, as well as 14 convicted war criminals.

Both South Korea and China condemned the visits as signifying that Japan has “not repented” for wartime atrocities.

More than 150 Diet members visited the shrine later in the week, further angering South Korea, which had already canceled a planned visit to Japan by its foreign minister as a protest against the Cabinet ministers’ shrine visit.

Feelings ran even higher in South Korea after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in the Diet that the definition of “aggression” has yet to be fixed and defended the shrine visits.