• Kyodo


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called Sunday for swift enactment of legislation to enable Japan to defend its security more robustly as his Liberal Democratic Party held its annual convention.

“We have a responsibility to protect the lives and peace of the Japanese people. . . .We will stand firm till the end in defense of Japanese territory, airspace and waters,” Abe said.

Abe, who heads the LDP, also underscored his resolve to promote economic reforms, saying his team intends to “advance a growth strategy by taking on the largest reforms in the postwar era.”

In its strategy for 2015 adopted at the event, the LDP, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, also emphasized its desire to revise the Constitution, a goal it has held since its founding in 1955.

Abe, who in December launched his second Cabinet since returning to power in 2012, also called for party unity to win the nationwide unified local elections in April.

On the Constitution, the strategy says the LDP will “promote a campaign to increase supporters” of its move to rewrite the U.S.-drafted supreme law. “What we have to take into our hearts is pride as a conservative party that started off with amending the Constitution as the party line.”

As this year also marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the LDP will “make efforts to improve relations with neighboring countries,” the strategy says, while also calling for quick enactment of legislation to bolster national security.

But in Beijing, China’s top diplomat ratcheted up pressure against Abe over the anniversary on Sunday, urging the prime minister to properly face Japan’s role and its defeat in the war.

“Japan, who lost in the war 70 years ago, should not lose its conscience 70 years later,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature. The session will run through March 15.

“Japan will ultimately have to decide whether to continue shouldering the burdens of history or break away from its past (of military aggressions),” Wang said.

Wang suggested, however, that the country is open to Abe taking part in a series of events to be held this year to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

China will invite leaders of “all relevant countries” and welcome “anyone sincere about coming” to a military parade and other anniversary events the country will host, Wang said.

Wang, a former ambassador to Japan, said it is “perfectly normal” for China to organize such events and that the main purpose is to “remember history” in order to secure world peace in the future.

Beijing is carefully watching what Abe will say this summer on the anniversary of the end of the war, which China calls its victory in a war of resistance against Japanese aggression.

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