Baku, August 14, AZERTAC
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday reiterated Japan has expessed deep remorse and apology over its past wartime actions in a statement issued to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, according to the Kyodo news.
"The most important message to be conveyed by the statement is that (Japan) will keep its pledge never to wage war again and continue to uphold the rule of law," Abe said at a press conference, where he read out the statement and explained the rationale behind issuing it.
The closely watched statement said, "Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war."
"In order to manifest such feelings through concrete actions, we have engraved in our hearts the histories of suffering of the people in Asia as our neighbors," it said. "Such position articulated by the previous Cabinets will remain unshakable into the future."
Abe`s statement upheld previous Japanese government apologies, including the 1995 landmark statement issued by Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. But Abe stopped short of offering an apology of his own in the new statement.
Asian neighbors that suffered under Japanese militarism kept close tabs on the statement as they were concerned Abe may water down past apologies over Japan's wartime actions. China and South Korea, in particular, perceive that Japan has not sufficiently atoned for its past atrocities.
Key phrases - "apology," "aggression," "deep remorse," and "colonial rule" -- were included in the statement, which was approved at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting.
Referring to "aggression," the Abe statement also said the world "shall abandon colonial rule forever" and "shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes."
"With deep repentance for the war, Japan made that pledge. Upon it, we have created a free and democratic country, abided by the rule of law, and consistently upheld that pledge never to wage a war again," the statement said.
Regarding those who died in Japan and abroad, Abe said in the statement, "I express my feelings of profound grief and my eternal, sincere condolences."
The premier also said in the statement that the world should "never forget that there were women behind the battlefields whose honor and dignity were severely injured."
Looking forward, he highlighted Japan's postwar path as a peace-loving nation.
Abe's statement reflected a report presented last week by an advisory panel, referring to Japan`s "aggression" in China before and during the war and its 1910-1945 "colonial rule" of Korea.
An English version of the statement was released at the same time. The Japanese government is also considering releasing the Chinese and Korean translations of the statement later, Japanese government sources said.
In the 1995 statement, Murayama said Japan, "following a mistaken national policy, advanced along the road to war...and, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations."
The statement goes on to say, "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."
Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also released a statement in 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945. The statement contained similar key phrases such as "aggression," "deep remorse" and "heartfelt apology."