• Kyodo

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Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on Friday criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s just-issued statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, saying it lacked clarity in its content.

In the statement, Abe cited past war anniversary statements that expressed feelings of “deep remorse and heartfelt apology” for Japan’s wartime actions, while indicating his intention to bring an end to a situation in which Japanese have to continue apologizing for the country’s past conduct.

“Fine phrases were written, but the statement does not say what the apology is for and what to do from now on,” said Murayama, who himself issued a landmark statement in 1995 to apologize for the wartime suffering inflicted by Japan on Asian neighbors.

Murayama also said at a news conference in the city of Oita that he felt Abe sought to “generalize” key terms such as “colonial rule” and “aggression” by indicating that those acts had been conducted by “any country” in the world.

“The focal point (of the statement) was blurred and I don’t know what he wanted to say at all,” Murayama said, adding that the statement should have used “clearer expressions.”

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