Sunday, January 20, 2013

LDP Official wants review of war apologies

Shinzo Abe and Sanae Takaichi
The 1995 Murayama Statement, is Japan only official apology for Japan's war in Asia. It is the only Cabinet-approved apology by Japan. There have been several other official apologies since then, but they are always merely a rewording of this basic prose from the Statement:
During a certain period in the not too distant past, Japan, following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war, only to ensnare the Japanese people in a fateful crisis, and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology.
For example, the apology to the American POWs of Japan reads,
As former Prime Ministers of Japan have repeatedly stated, the Japanese people should bear in mind that we must look into the past and to learn from the lessons of history. We extend a heartfelt apology for our country having caused tremendous damage and suffering to many people, including prisoners of wars, those who have undergone tragic experiences in the Bataan Peninsula, Corregidor Island, in the Philippines, and other places.
Thus, to refute or to undo the Murayama apology, as the Head of the LDP Policy Research Council Ms Sanae Takaichi states below, would seriously undermine all of Japan's apologies, official and otherwise. The work to rebuild the trust in Japan's past adversaries, who are now allies will be destroyed.

Ms. Takaichi was one of the 53 signers of The Facts advertisement in the November 4, 2012 edition of the New Jersey Star Ledger. This ad disputes the history of the Comfort Women as sex slaves. Nine members of Shinzo Abe's cabinet, including Prime Minister Abe, also signed the ad.

Official Urges Abe to Review War Apologies
January 10, 2013, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal


TOKYO—Japan should reconsider past apologies made for its wartime actions and expand its regional presence, the new ruling party's policy chief said, pressing new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to live up to his nationalist campaign rhetoric.

Sanae Takaichi, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party's powerful policy-research council, said Wednesday that Mr. Abe should issue a statement that backtracks on some of Japan's previous apologies for wartime actions and "protects the honor and pride" of the nation.

"I look forward, more than anything, to the creation of a new 'Abe statement' that would replace the Murayama statement," Ms. Takaichi said in an interview. She was referring to a 1995 statement by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II that apologized for the damage and suffering Japan inflicted through its colonial rule.

Such steps would likely outrage some Asian neighbors, especially China and South Korea, where wartime memories run deep and territorial disputes with Japan have re-emerged as a source of animosity.

Mr. Abe led his party to a sweeping victory in the Dec. 16 general election with a nationalist agenda calling for the revision of Japan's pacifist constitution and an increase in military spending. His cabinet includes many lawmakers with similar ideals—sparking concerns among moderates who see the administration as sliding to the right.

Ms. Takaichi, known for her outspoken views on Japan's wartime history, said Japan shouldn't have to apologize for matters outside those already covered by international treaties. She said Mr. Abe should issue a new statement "as soon as possible," adding that the LDP would fully support such a plan.

While Mr. Abe supported the 1995 Murayama statement when he was prime minister in 2006, he was more critical ahead of his recent election and said he wants to issue his own "forward-looking" statement.

Before taking office He also said Japan should consider revising a 1993 statement made by then-Chief cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that the Japanese government and military were responsible for forcing "comfort women" to serve in front-line military brothels.

Ms. Takaichi also said that China's growing military might was a "threat" to the region, and that Japan could benefit by strengthening ties with Southeast Asian nations, "from both security and economic-growth perspectives."

Last week, Finance Minister Taro Aso visited Myanmar for economic talks, while foreign minister Fumio Kishida left Wednesday for the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore and Australia. Mr. Abe is said to be planning a tour of Southeast Asia, possibly as early as next week.

Ms. Takaichi also said Japan's leaders should pay annual visits to the Yasukuni shrine, which honors the country's war dead, including World War II leaders convicted as war criminals. Such visits in the past brought strong protests from China and South Korea.

While Mr. Abe hasn't clarified whether he would visit the shrine during his current tenure—he didn't visit it when he was last prime minister—Ms. Takaichi said she strongly advised he do so this time.

"I would be glad if all cabinet members would visit the shrine," she said.

Ms. Takaichi, who served as minister of state for Okinawa and the northern territories under Mr. Abe before, was the only cabinet minister who visited the shrine on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

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