Abe war anniversary statement to include terms ‘apology’ and ‘aggression’: NHK

Staff Report, Reuters

A draft of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II includes all key words used in the 1995 Murayama statement, including “apology” and “aggression,” NHK reported Monday.

Officials in the ruling coalition welcomed the inclusion of these words in the draft, whose final, official version is scheduled to be released this Friday.

In trying to detect any change in Japan’s stance toward its wartime past, China and South Korea are closely watching whether Abe will repeat the key words used in the 1995 statement by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who on the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender expressed “feeling of deep remorse” and offered a “heartfelt apology.”

Murayama also stated that Japan had inflicted “tremendous damage and suffering” on people in Asia through its “colonial rule and aggression.”

An initial draft did not include the word “apology,” according to some media reports, an omission that would likely anger China and South Korea, where bitter memories of Japan’s past occupation and colonization run deep.

Abe is juggling conflicting priorities in crafting the statement.

He needs to satisfy the desire of its close ally, the United States, to ease tensions in East Asia.

He also wants to keep an incipient thaw in ties with China on track as he eyes a summit with President Xi Jinping that a close aide said is likely to be held in September.

However, the conservative Abe’s core supporters want to end what they see as a humiliating cycle of apologies they say distract from Japan’s seven decades of postwar peace.

Abe has said he will uphold past statements about the war, including Murayama’s landmark “heartfelt apology.” But his previous remarks and stated desire to look to the future have raised concerns that he wants to water down those apologies.

The latest draft was shown to Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, according to NHK.

The broadcaster said, without citing the source, that the draft includes “feelings of deep remorse,” “colonial rule,” “apology” and “aggression,” all words seen as key in the Murayama statement as well as the 2005 statement by then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, which repeated them.

  • Liars N. Fools

    If this accurate, then Abe Shinzo is acting properly. He should also unreservedly reaffirm the Kono Statement as originally formulated without the 2007 weakening.

  • Vichy

    Serious question whose answer I don’t know.
    How many more times must Japan (through its politicians) apologize?

    • wrle

      As many times until the historical distortions stop which undermines every previous apology.

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    • AJ

      Until they can convince anyone they’re sincerely remorseful about their very negative history of imperialism and war. Not remorseful that they lost the war, remorseful that they acknowledge that the entire endeavor of expansion and conquest was a moral disgrace.

  • Japan has apologized only twice. Enough? Maybe. But look at the Germans: v. Weizsäcker’s speech in 1985 lasted 45 min. and was only about remorse and remembrance. In comparison, the Murayama talk is only one page long and has merely one sentence containing the “key-words”. Every German government repeats this ceremony several times every year. If you know the German language, you would get the impression that they are sincere. And that’s the reason why this country deserves respect in the world. Abe might finally express the “key-words” in his “talk”, but every child knows he is a revisionist.

  • Revelation

    It doesn’t matter if these “key words” are used or not- the issue is HOW he is going to use them. For all we know, he could merely cite a past “apology” concerning “colonial rule aggression” for which there is “deep remorse”. However, until Abe leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that HE sincerely acknowledges these points and will take measures to straighten out the warped perception of Japan’s colonial rule, he’s wasting everyone’s time. What the world really wants is for Japan to follow Germany’s example and make efforts to right these wrongs they’ve drawn out until now.

    • Oliver Mackie

      “However, until Abe leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that HE sincerely acknowledges these points…”

      Maybe. The problem is that sincerity is in the ears of the beholder. I mean it REALLY is. Remember, no one can actually look into the mind of a speaker and know if the sincerity is there or not. Think about that for a moment. Someone could, or could not, be sincere, and could, or could not, be taken as sincere, and the correlation between the two is far from exact. Indeed, they are disconnected. He might be sincere, and yet not be taken as so. What then? What of what it takes for the listener to be perceived of as sincere. Are there some who will never be convinced, whatever the thoughts of the speaker? If so, does that mean that apologies should be repeated ad infinitum? Or maybe, perhaps, there are those who refuse to accept sincerity regardless of the intent of the speaker. Why might they have that mental frame of reference? What of those who have (sub-consciously) pre-decided that whatever he says, it can’t be sincere because….because…he is who he is. What then? And what of those who are totally in control of their faculties but refuse to accept anyway…because…because…they have other, more immediate motives, totally unconnected to the victims?

      All food for thought….

      • Revelation

        Which is why I added, “and will take measures to straighten out the warped perception of Japan’s colonial rule”. Even if he were to make a heartfelt apology, that alone is not enough- it’s this point I made which is ultimately what many want to see from this upcoming statement. Also why I started by saying the keywords themselves did not matter, because they have been used before but they have not moved the Japanese government to reflect on them. This time ought to be different, although I bet anything it’s just going to be another broken record… same mention of regret and Abe avoiding getting any deeper than that.

      • Oliver Mackie

        Which is why I added, “and will take measures to straighten out the warped perception of Japan’s colonial rule”.

        I think he thinks he is already doing that, but perhaps not in the way you meant…

  • Richard Solomon

    IF Abe’s upcoming statement includes the words noted in this piece, it will be a relief that he finally recognized the need to be consistent with the statements made in 1993 and 1995. However, these are just the first steps. IF he and by extension the Japanese people are genuine and ‘sincere’ in these statements, they should realize that ACTIONS are also needed. In order for one to truly make amends and to reconcile with former enemies/victims of one’s misdeeds one must actually prove it via such things as meeting with the victims, compensating them, building memorials which honor them, etc.

    The Germans have done these things. In fact, the Germans continue to hold memorial gatherings with victims of the Holocaust as well. They even pay for the victims’ expenses in attending these meetings! Because of these ACTIONS the Germans and the Israelis are on good terms. Admittedly, it has not been easy for the Germans ‘to humiliate’ themselves like this. But they have and now they reap the benefits of their courage in doing so.

    Can the Japanese do this? Do Abe and his cohorts have the wisdom and maturity to lead the country past mere words and into doing deeds that will, gradually, heal the wounds inflicted during WW II? I wish I could be hopeful about this. But the struggle just to get Abe to articulate the ‘right words’ has been enormous. It does not bode well for his taking the next steps that are needed.

  • shyguy1990

    Let’s all hope this isn’t a theatrical monologue of an apology.

  • Nobu Tarou

    According to today’s Nikkei Shimbun, PM Abe has solidified wording describing the “aggression” in his 70 years after the war statement. But rather than narrowing the target to Imperial Japanese Army’s acts in the specific countries or region in the previous war, it would mention in the context of world history, including the actions of other countries as well!
    It is the direction indicating Japan’s determination to comply with the international principles that do not allow the invasion, evading the specific act of Japan’s past by osscuring the responsibility. Its funny, even a child can say such a thing.