(From Nikkei Asian Review)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not use the word “apology” in his upcoming statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, he told the leader of the ruling coalition’s junior party Friday.
Komeito’s Natsuo Yamaguchi urged Abe to “use expressions that convey the spirit of apology.” He also called on the prime minister to describe Imperial Japan’s expansionism as “aggression,” as past Japanese leaders have, among them Tomiichi Murayama in a 1995 statement marking half a century since the war’s end. Murayama, the socialist head of a coalition government that included Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, also used the word “apology,” as did the LDP’s own Junichiro Koizumi in a 2005 statement.
Abe said he would make clear that the statement carries on in the tradition of past cabinets’ views on wartime history. But Yamaguchi argued that simply writing so “doesn’t make clear what’s being carried on.”
Abe is finished discussing the statement with the Komeito side, according to a person who attended Friday’s meeting. “From here on in, the prime minister will make the final decision on the text,” this person said.
LDP Secretary-General Sadakazu Tanigaki, Komeito Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga sat in on the meeting.
In a report issued Thursday, a panel commissioned by Abe to advise him on the statement acknowledged Japan’s “aggression” and “colonial rule” but avoided the issue of the necessity of an apology. Abe has said the statement will express “remorse” for Japan’s actions, stress its pursuit of peace in the postwar era, and depict a nation looking to the future.