View Full Version : Japanese Prime Minister wants to retract war apology

Rising Sun*
01-05-2013, 04:08 AM
Give it another 50 to 100 years and the powerful right in Japan will have convinced itself that the only war crimes and crimes against humanity involving Japan between 1931 and 1945 were a couple of unprovoked nuclear attacks by America on civilian targets.

Japan PM Abe wants to replace landmark war apology
Reuters – Mon, Dec 31, 2012

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to replace a landmark 1995 apology for suffering caused in Asia during World War Two with an unspecified "forward-looking statement", a newspaper reported on Monday.

Abe, a hawkish conservative who is known to want to recast Japan's position on its wartime militarism in less apologetic tones, led his party to a landslide victory in a December 16 election.

He outlined his intention to restate Japan's position in an interview with the conservative Sankei newspaper, but he did not give details.

Any hint that Japan is back-tracking from the 1995 apology, issued by then Prime Minister Tomic Murayama, is likely to outrage neighbors, particularly China and North and South Korea, which endured years of brutal Japanese rule.

"The Murayama statement was a statement issued by Socialist Party Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama," Abe was quoted as saying in an interview with the conservative Sankei newspaper published on Monday.

"I want to issue a forward-looking statement that is appropriate for the 21st century," he said.

Abe said he would consult experts about the details and the timing of statement.

He has also said he wants to loosen the constraints of Japan's post-war pacifist constitution.

Abe hails from a wealthy political family that includes a grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was a wartime cabinet minister who was imprisoned but never tried as a war criminal after the war. He went on to become prime minister from 1957 to 1960.

First elected to parliament in 1993 after the death of his father, a former foreign minister, Abe rose to national fame by adopting a tough stance toward North Korea in a dispute over Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.

More recently, he has promised not to yield in a territorial row with China over tiny islands in the East China Sea - known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China - and boost defense spending to counter China's growing influence.

During a first stint as prime minister, which began in September 2006 and lasted a year, Abe pushed through a parliamentary revision of an education law to "restore patriotism" in school curriculums.

Here is the full text of the 1995 apology. The fifth paragraph is the one usually quoted as if it is the whole apology.

The world has seen 50 years elapse since the war came to an end. Now, when I remember the many people both at home and abroad who fell victim to war, my heart is overwhelmed by a flood of emotions.

The peace and prosperity of today were built as Japan overcame great difficulty to arise from a devastated land after defeat in war. That achievement is something of which we are proud, and let me herein express my heartfelt admiration for the wisdom and untiring effort of each and every one of our citizens. Let me also express once again my profound gratitude for the indispensable support and assistance extended to Japan by the countries of the world, beginning with the United States of America. I am also delighted that we have been able to build the friendly relations which we enjoy today with the neighboring countries of the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and the countries of Europe.

Now that Japan has come to enjoy peace and abundance, we tend to overlook the pricelessness and blessings of peace. Our task is to convey to younger generations the horrors of war, so that we never repeat the errors in our history. I believe that, as we join hands, especially with the peoples of neighboring countries, to ensure true peace in the Asia- Pacific region — indeed in the entire world — it is necessary, more than anything else, that we foster relations with all countries based on deep understanding and trust. Guided by this conviction, the Government has launched the Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative, which consists of two parts promoting: support for historical research into relations in the modern era between Japan and the neighboring countries of Asia and elsewhere; and rapid expansion of exchanges with those countries. Furthermore, I will continue in all sincerity to do my utmost in efforts being made on the issues arisen from the war, in order to further strengthen the relations of trust between Japan and those countries.

Now, upon this historic occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end, we should bear in mind that we must look into the past to learn from the lessons of history, and ensure that we do not stray from the path to the peace and prosperity of human society in the future.

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. Allow me also to express my feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, of that history.

Building from our deep remorse on this occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Japan must eliminate self-righteous nationalism, promote international coordination as a responsible member of the international community and, thereby, advance the principles of peace and democracy. At the same time, as the only country to have experienced the devastation of atomic bombing, Japan, with a view to the ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, must actively strive to further global disarmament in areas such as the strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. It is my conviction that in this way alone can Japan atone for its past and lay to rest the spirits of those who perished.

It is said that one can rely on good faith. And so, at this time of remembrance, I declare to the people of Japan and abroad my intention to make good faith the foundation of our Government policy, and this is my vow.

It’s worth reading the article in the last link to see how the apology emerged in its final form, and how little support there was for it in the Diet. Note that that author says the word 'apology' was not used in the statement.

Continued ...

Rising Sun*
01-05-2013, 04:10 AM
The perplexing ambivalence on war issues of Japanese politicians and others in Japan is illustrated by contemporary responses to the 1995 apology.

Japanese Apology for War Is Welcomed and Criticized
Published: August 16, 1995

Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama was praised and pilloried today by people at home and abroad for offering Japan's first frank apology for the damage and suffering inflicted by his country during World War II.

People throughout Asia welcomed Mr. Murayama's apology, although reaction from certain countries like South Korea and China was cautious. Even many Japanese said they felt a strong expression of regret was long overdue.

"It was a war of invasion, and I believe an apology was right," said Kenichi Kobayashi, 58, a business manager, as he sat on a bench near the Imperial Palace. "We have done bad things to the Asian people. I think we should have apologized earlier."

For the first time since the end of the war, a Japanese Prime Minister today expressed his "heartfelt apology" and admitted that Japan had, "through its colonial rule and invasion, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations."

At various times Japanese leaders have expressed remorse or regret for their country's actions in the war. But until today, the 50th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, no national leader had offered an outright apology. The word used by Mr. Murayama today, owabi, is unambiguously translated as apology.

Australia warmly welcomed the remarks, but other countries, from China to Singapore to Malaysia, were more subdued in their reactions, and not all issued official responses. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said, "We will observe Japan's attitude in the future."

A degree of ambivalence surfaced quickly even within Mr. Murayama's own Cabinet, which unanimously approved his apology this morning.

No sooner had Mr. Murayama concluded his remarks than minister after minister made a pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, a place that honors the Japanese dead and worships as gods the Japanese soldiers who died in battle, including military war criminals.

Such conflicting sentiments and tensions over Japan's acts of aggression pervade Japanese society, and they spilled over on this anniversary. For a small minority, there is skepticism over how much pain Japan inflicted, and an assertion that war always brings suffering.

"I don't think we need to apologize at all, because we have no evidence that those things occurred," said a 55-year-old Japanese banker who would give his name only as A. Naka yama. "I believe politicians are apologizing without making solid investigation and without seeking the truth."

Mr. Nakayama's view is not so rare. Just last week, the new Education Minister, Yoshinobu Shimamura, told reporters that he questioned whether repeated apologies were useful and suggested that Japan had not necessarily been the aggressor in the war.

Then, when his remarks led to protests at home and in other Asian countries, he apologized and retracted them.

Indiscretions like Mr. Shimamura's have occurred many times over the years, and partly for this reason, some Japanese say they fear that Mr. Murayama's apology may not necessarily hold for long. Mr. Murayama's power and popularity have weakened in recent months, and if he leaves his post, a more conservative prime minister might take his place.
Nevertheless, some Japanese were encouraged by what Emperor Akihito said today in a ritual that marked the anniversary with a gigantic swell of flowers to honor the war dead.
"I renew my deep sorrow for the people who lost precious lives in the last great war and their survivors," the Emperor said. "I strongly hope that the scourge of war will never be repeated, and I, along with all the people in this nation, hereby express my deep mourning for those who died and suffered in the battlefield."

Contrary to the above article’s assurance that Murayama’s statement used ‘apology, it is also said here in a useful short history of some of Japan’s apologies for the war that it didn’t. http://www.iias.asia/nl/44/IIAS_NL44_36.pdf

I suspect that the present issue with Abe arises from the practice of Prime Ministers after Murayama endorsing his apology. Presumably Abe was asked about his intentions in the interview which gave rise to the first article quoted.

01-05-2013, 06:59 AM
It is fascinating that the rightist Japanese gov't would step away from the apology at the moment they need to be conciliatory the most. The next few years bodes the possibility of real rearmament and expansion of the Japanese Defense Forces - although they pretty well armed and funded now...

01-06-2013, 02:36 AM
No matter what, deep in their core, the elitests in Japan, probably descended from the old emperial times retain their belief that everyone but themis some class of monkey and not to be regarded too highly.

There are plenty of Japanese who see through this, but do not seem to involve themselves in political machinations.
They are related to the ones who managed to throw off and outlaw the near criminal Samuraii bunch and their oppression of common folks.

Complete blindness and dismissal of history is not admirable in reference to said elitests.

02-02-2013, 08:08 PM
One has to wonder about a country that is unable to confront its past with anything approaching honesty. This evasion of responsibility on the part of many in the Japanese leadership is a pattern of "cheat and retreat" that has been invoked many times in the past. It is outrageous, anger-provoking and it is ongoing and unlikely to stop - ever. I am not merely "dismayed" or mildly "disappointed" by this pathetic behavior, I am enraged. Not wishing to waste my energies on a people so clearly unworthy of my respect in this matter, I will be content in having said my say and to leave it at that.

Rising Sun*
07-26-2014, 10:49 AM
Commendable voice of the Japanese political minority.

Japan's atonement for war not enough, says former minister Yohei Kono

Maiko Takahashi

Published: July 25, 2014 - 12:48PM

Tokyo: Japan has failed to atone sufficiently for its actions in World War II, said a former foreign minister who wrote an apology over the use of wartime "comfort women".

"They are insufficient," Yohei Kono, 77, said when asked about the apologies expressed to date by his nation's officials. "This is because the people who suffered and have extremely painful memories aren't saying they are sufficient."

The remarks by Mr Kono, a former senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, echo calls by China and South Korea for a clearer expression of responsibility for the deaths of millions in Asia in the 1930s-1940s. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has criticised the "propaganda" he says taints his nation's image, has seen his efforts to hold summits with China and South Korea rebuffed by their leaders.

Mr Kono, who left parliament in 2009 after serving in posts including deputy prime minister, chief cabinet secretary and president of the LDP, criticised moves by Mr Abe easing limits on Japan's military and defence industry. He said an election should have been held on Mr Abe's decision to alter the interpretation of the pacifist constitution.

"Japan needs to keep apologising, making gestures of contrition and seek a fuller understanding of its shared past with Asia," said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus. "The apologies tend to be vague and lack specific references to atrocities and excesses, therefore not addressing the needs of the victims."

Mr Kono is renowned for a 1993 statement he made as the government's top spokesman apologising for the Japanese military's abuse of women, known as comfort women, during the war. Then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama made what is regarded as the clearest apology for the war as a whole to date, in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the war's end.

The Abe administration has stoked neighbours' concerns by investigating the grounds for Mr Kono's apology, which was based on evidence including testimony of women forced to service in Japan's military brothels. Mr Abe, 59, also spurred criticism in China and South Korea with a December visit to Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, which honours Japanese war dead including Class-A criminals.

Mr Abe has said there is no need to revise either Mr Kono's or Mr Murayama's statements.

"The Japanese government must make a right and bold decision for the two countries to overcome a painful past," South Korean President Park Geun Hye said earlier this year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping criticised Japan's wartime aggression earlier this month, saying that China and the world will not accept efforts by a "minority" to distort history and facts.

Public opposition to reinterpreting the constitution to allow the military to defend allies under attack is high.

Mr Kono criticised Mr Abe's approach, indicating that he should have taken more time to debate the issue and held a referendum.

"If you are to make a policy change as big as changing the shape of a nation, it's natural that you should go to the people," Mr Kono said. "To change the ethos of the constitution, you should revise the constitution."


01-08-2015, 05:43 AM
History will repeat itself,.

07-08-2016, 04:39 AM
This is outrageous

07-08-2016, 04:50 AM
The perplexing ambivalence on war issues of Japanese politicians and others in Japan is illustrated by contemporary responses to the 1995 apology.

Contrary to the above article’s assurance that Murayama’s statement used ‘apology, it is also said here in a useful short history of some of Japan’s apologies for the war that it didn’t. http://www.iias.asia/nl/44/IIAS_NL44_36.pdf

I suspect that the present issue with Abe arises from the practice of Prime Ministers after Murayama endorsing his apology. Presumably Abe was asked about his intentions in the interview which gave rise to the first article quoted.

This is outrageous!