Murayama urges Abe to get Cabinet approval for WWII anniversary statement


Tomiichi Murayama urged current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday to get Cabinet approval for the statement he will issue on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II.

The former prime minister made the remarks in a speech at the Kansai Press Club in Osaka, following reports that Abe does not plan to seek Cabinet endorsement for his statement, purportedly to highlight its personal nature.

As Abe’s war statement will attract international attention, “any personal statement may deepen doubts” about Japan’s readiness to apologize for its colonial rule and aggression, Murayama said.

“The statement should be issued after the Cabinet officially approves it,” he added.

In Murayama’s Cabinet-endorsed statement in August 1995 regarding the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, he acknowledged Japanese aggression and colonial rule, and expressed deep remorse including a heartfelt apology.

“I thought (at that time) that a statement would be meaningless unless it is officially approved by the Cabinet and issued as a government view,” Murayama told journalists.

A similar war statement issued on the 60th anniversary in August 2005 by then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, which repeated key expressions in the Murayama statement, was also approved by the Cabinet at that time, Murayama noted.

Countries that suffered under Japan’s colonial rule or aggression, notably China and South Korea, are concerned that Abe may deliver a watered down apology.

While saying he upholds the Murayama statement “as a whole,” Abe has signaled his reluctance to use such words as “aggression” and “apology” in his forthcoming statement.

The prime minister “probably does not want to accept the Murayama statement or the Koizumi statement,” Murayama said.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Abe Shinzo is still trying to employ his legerdemain and evasions and inability to define words to dance around his revisionism. He easily earns the sobriquet of Dishonest Abe.

  • JimmyJM

    I agree with Mr. Murayama. Mr. Abe will be speaking as a representative of the people of Japan. His personal feelings aren’t material. What he says in his speech should be taken as coming from Japan as a whole. Whatever he says will encourage those who disagree to be vociferous in opposition but as long as the rest of the world accepts his speech as coming from Japan and not just the right wing faction of the LDP, the speech will be meaningful and go a long way toward mending relations with those injured by Japan’s war. In fact, if he were courageous, Mr. Abe would seek the approval of the entire Diet. Resolutions passed in both houses would be more meaningful yet. Otherwise, it’s just another political speech with little meaning.

  • Richard Solomon

    As Abe’s Cabinet is handpicked by him, one would expect that its members would approve whatever speech he gives. Thus, Murayama’s suggestion is irrelevant.

    Whatever Abe says people will take it as representing the official government position. If he chooses not to repeat Murayama’s phrasing in toto, it will be taken as an attempt at revision.

    Unless, of course, he goes even further than his predecessors in taking responsibility for Japan’s aggression, mistreatment of Comfort Women and others, etc. Hell would probably freeze over before Abe would do anything like that, however.

    • Oliver Mackie

      Think you are overstating Abe’s handpicking of his cabinet. Many ‘choices’ are made taking into account factional power politics. There is a well-known saying that the LDP is neither liberal, democratic, nor a party. There may well be some cabinet members who might not wish to endorse his statement, even if it is more or less whatever than previous ones.

  • timefox

    And even though Abe Prime Minister says Murayama discourse to inherit , what these people not even heard unless stay even look .
    China is Toka come not Toka issue come attack already wrong .
    China it’s entering the already waters of Japan , but there I’m what a ?

    China of the mystery of the military spending increase , the massacre that China has made in since World War II , destroying the coral reefs of the Nansha Islands , landfill , construction of military bases .
    If you look at these, it’s natural to strengthen is not as Japan military blame on China .

    These to close their eyes , it will only human like this person .