politics

Panel to meet on Abe's war apology statement

29 Comments

A government-appointed panel will hold its first meeting on Wednesday to advise Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the contents of a fresh statement on Japan's World War II responsibility.

Abe has said he will stand by previous apologies for wartime misdeeds, but there have been fears he might play down a landmark 1993 statement on the subject which both China and South Korea say is vital to regional relations.

Last month, Abe said he would record his government's thinking on the future when he issues the statement -- expected on Aug 15, the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender.

"During the past 70 years... Japan moved ahead as a pacifist nation and made a big contribution to peace, development and democratisation in the Asia-Pacific and the world," Abe said. "Over the next 80, 90 and 100 years, we have to make further contributions under the flag of proactive pacifism."

"By bringing together the wisdom, I want to write a new statement on how Japan can do more for the Asia-Pacific region and the world," he added.

But Abe also said he would stick to statements by previous governments about the nation's wartime behavior, including an official 1995 apology by then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.

"In general, the Abe cabinet will take over the stance of successive cabinets over historical perception, including the Murayama statement," he said.

The statement said Japan "through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations", adding the premier feels "deep remorse" and offers a "heartfelt apology".

Japan's right-wingers would like the apology revoked, something that Abe was always under huge international pressure to avoid.

Abe himself has repeatedly picked at the diplomatic scab left by the institutionalised system of sex slavery that saw up to 200,000 women from Korea, China and elsewhere forced into service during the conflict.

Although he has stopped short of revoking Japan's 1993 admission and apology -- known as the Kono Statement -- he has made clear his distaste and undermined it with an investigation of the evidence used.

© Japan Today/AFP

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29 Comments
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Whatever he says he will be sure to come up with words and sentiment that will appeal to right-wing nationalists.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Not an Abe fan but I like his look into the future statement. The past can't be changed. Leave it alone! The future can be better if nations put the past behind them and work together. The world isn't going to get any better squabbling over past issues.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

A government-appointed panel will hold its first meeting on Wednesday to advise Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the contents of a fresh statement on Japan’s World War II responsibility.

Please, for pity sake, stop the madness. No more panels, studies or statements -- JUST LET IT GO.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Abe himself has repeatedly picked at the diplomatic scab

Nice description of the problem.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Something from a committee is not what's needed. That in itself promotes the false idea that "there are a range of points of view and interpretations that need to be taken into account." The background to the war and what happened are pretty clear to genuine historians. Japan needs to show responsibility and follow the German model, which has produced very harmonious relations with all former adversaries. Doesn't Japan want this?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Who cares really? The proof is in the pudding as the saying goes. I have little trust for the man, his policies, and what comes out of his mouth, let this speech prove me wrong!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

No need for wasting more of our tax money on another panel. Abe should just follow the lead of former West German leader Willy Brandt, who knelt before a monument to Polish victims of Nazis atrocities.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

“By bringing together the wisdom, I want to write a new statement on how Japan can do more for the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” he added.

These sorts of vague political-speak statements are a big pet peeve of mine. What specifically does "bringing together the wisdom" mean. I am guessing he is trying to convey that he will bring together/draw on the collective wisdom of the panel members.

Anyway, I realize this is a direct translation, but even in Japanese the PM needs to be more specific.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ah yes, roll out the tape! Another panel!

My guess is that the "apology" will be vague and worded extremely carefully, thus being more right-wing propaganda than an actual heart-felt, no holds barred apology. Here's to hoping he proves me wrong...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That's always been the problem with statements from Japanese government - vagueness. You can interpret them in any way you like, and they can mean whatever they want them to mean.

Although he has stopped short of revoking Japan’s 1993 admission and apology—known as the Kono Statement—he has made clear his distaste and undermined it with an investigation of the evidence used.

That in itself shows what sort of person Abe is. And that's just for starters.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A government-appointed panel means that all the members on the panel have had to be approved by Abe. So the kind of advice the panelists are going to come up with will be similar to Abe's own ideas. Then why set up the panel? It's simply because he will be able to use it as part of his defense against criticism that his statement is likely to bring about within the country as well as from abroad.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Whatever Abe says iare not accepted by right wing? Abe to be careful. His maternal grandfather Kishi was almost killed by Right wing when returned from USA. It was 1960. right wing already assassinated Japan Socialist Party leader Asanuma, then. Current right wing are not violendt but they sure know how to dictate Abe. Is this panel to satisfy right wing?

@warispeace:

Japan will never copy or follow Germany/ Last time, Japan copied Germany, it got nbig idea to attack USA. Euro[e tp Germany, USA to Japan.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

abe is the WORST PM to have for Japan in this year the 70th anniversary of WWII............

As others point out the fact they have a panel, just goes to show Japan still cant accept what happened prior & during WWII!

70yrs and Japan is still screwing it up...............abe, we all know that if he spouts the few bits of past honest apology like statements that HE doesn't believe them at all, that he will be lying big time, if he actually says what he thinks Japan will be lambasted by the entire planet.

Sadly this is going to be very hard for Japan to pull off & be believed, unless abe has to suddenly visit the hospital come summer Japan has almost no chance in pulling this off!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@toshiko

Japan will never copy or follow Germany/ Last time, Japan copied Germany, it got nbig idea to attack USA.

Are you trying to rewrite history? Attacking the US had nothing to do with copying Germany. It had all to do with Japan's internal politics, international isolation at the time and the embargo the US placed on oil and resource imports from French Indochina.

Now if you compare food self-sufficiency rate, use of alternative energy, political participation, working hours, and many other areas, Japan would do well to copy today's Germany instead of following the neoliberal and economic imperialist model of the US.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“Over the next 80, 90 and 100 years, we have to make further contributions under the flag of proactive pacifism.”

'Proactive pacifism' is Abe's way of saying "war", and that is NOT peace! You don't get peace from changing the pacifist constitution so you can build an army to wage war. You don't promote peace by sending the region into the worst relations since WWII. You don't promote peace by claiming the past warmongering never happened. You don't promote peace by FORCING 'patriotism' on your people when they actually want peace. You don't promote peace by visiting shrines with war criminals and donating money to war criminal monuments. In short, nothing this guy is doing has ANY business being in the same sentence as peace except if pointing out contradictions to his policies.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japan is peace loving. Let it go.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yelnats: "Japan is peace loving. Let it go."

Precisely why it shouldn't change, don't you think?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The launch next week of a LDP government selected 'panel of experts' holding there first meeting contributing a statement for commemorating the 70th anniversary of the cessation of WW2 to be issued this summer by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has the potential to have long reaching diplomatic consequences for generations to come.

The 'panel' is believed to be headed by Japan Post Holdings Co. President Taizo Nishimuro, 79, with Shinichi Kitaoka, 66, president of the International University of Japan, as acting chief. Neither have any experience in intergovernmental organizations, foreign diplomatic service, or communications with governments of other countries in any formal capacity.   Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga announcement at a press briefing..... 'To gain diverse perspectives, we picked people from a wide range of fields, including scholars with profound expertise in history and politics as well as those from the fourth estate (the media) and businesses'...

One former Government advisor recent literary contribution regarding estabishing imigration policy have soured international relations with South Africa that have harmed and embarrassed  Japans international reputation. LDP government current abilities to develop stable or coherent Foreign policies with neighbours inspires little  confidence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr Abe needs rightist voters support otherwise his cabinet cannot be last long. He will retract those apologies soon after he made it . The fundamental problem wasnt Mr Abe but the japanese society herself. Many japanese cannot tolerate that pacificism . They saw it is not feasible and an insult to the nation. China,the Koreas understood that the core behaviour of japanese mainstream society very much and watched with cautious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@warispeace:

Have you ever studied Japanese history of Sangoku Domei? Hitlar and Mussolini invited japanese Yosuke Matsuoka and Matuolka promoted ideas to be with them. Matsuoka was not convicted snf died with TB before trial but he was last one enshrined in Yasukuni/ Instead you writing I learn history, you learn history of Japan. As Matsuoka happened to be fathe in law of Abe's grand uncle Eisaku Satoh, you can finde Triad story with Matsuoka in Wikipedia.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next month the PM has a chance to consult with longstandig chancellor Merkel on how to become a more proactive member in the league of nations.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

After a Japanese company changed its name to Sony and successful in USA, it sent technologists and marketing specialists to Europe to conqueor Europe market. While some Germany admirers are conceited Japan will copy thinking Japan will copy Germany, Japan Inc members have different desire and working. Japan is not interested in UN or leagues of nations that China is bossing now. Merkel has to be careful. Her Germany might become USA business situation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We all know what happened to Sony since, bubbles happen to islanders.

But now you have to come up with a statement on history with has to show your interest in foreign nations. Good luck!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Former PM Murayama just said on NHK that it was necessary to own up to the past and apologize for Japanese misdeeds during the war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Former PM Murayama just said on NHK that it was necessary to own up to the past and apologize for Japanese misdeeds during the war.

Did he say how many times more and how many decades more Japan should apologize? Do you think Japan should rather listen to 90+ year old ex-PM than present PM?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

"Do you think Japan should rather listen to a 90 plus year-old ex-PM than the current PM?"

In this case, yes. A hundred times yes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lucabrashi, so where is democracy? I think the procedure is the most important thing, sorry.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@tina

Don't see the problem. Abe's the Prime Minister, absolutely. That's a legal issue.

But whether or not his opinions deserve the attention of the people is surely for the people to decide....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

luc, it's decided. Forget it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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