• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might switch up Japan’s war anniversary statement and deviate from the landmark 1995 statement issued by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, which clearly apologized for Japan’s wartime aggression in Asia, the government’s top spokesman said.

“If it were the same, there would be no need to release a new statement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday.

Abe is expected to issue a statement this summer to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II. World leaders are expected to scrutinize the statement, given his charge to lead Japan to the right and terminate its constitutionally pacifist status.

Suga said the new statement will be a “future-oriented” one but added that “we are going to inherit the same stance (as past Cabinets) as a whole, including the apologies.”

On Aug. 15, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Murayama said Japan caused “tremendous damage and suffering” to the people of Asia and other countries through its colonial rule and aggression.