Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has appointed a Cabinet that, according to press reports, contains a number of ministers who want to rewrite the history of the 20th century. They, including the new minister of education, are reported as demanding the rescinding of the statement made in 1995 by former Prime Minister Tomoichi Murayama expressing remorse for Japanese atrocities in Asia.

Japanese ministers should be aware that going back on the Murayama apology not only would offend Japan’s neighbors in Northeast Asia (China and Korea) but also would outrage opinion elsewhere in Asia where many people suffered under Japanese occupation. It would in addition arouse anti-Japanese sentiment in Western countries including Britain.

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