Japan expresses grief over war

JapanPrime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday he had utmost grief for the “immeasurable damage and suffering” Japan inflicted in World War II, but future generations of Japanese should not have to keep apologizing for the mistakes of the past.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific, Abe said he upheld past official apologies including a landmark 1995 statement by then-Premier Tomiichi Murayama, but offered no new apology of his own.
The war’s legacy still haunts relations with China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan’s sometimes brutal occupation and colonial rule before Tokyo’s defeat in August 1945.
Beijing and Seoul had made clear they wanted Abe to stick to, as expressed in 1995, “deep remorse” and “heartfelt apology” for Japanese “colonial rule and aggression.”
“Upon the innocent people did our country inflict immeasurable damage and suffering,” Abe said in a statement. “When I squarely contemplate this obvious fact, even now, I find myself speechless and my heart is rent with the utmost grief.” The remarks by Abe, seen by critics as a revisionist who wants to play down the dark side of Japan’s wartime past, will be analyzed not only in China and South Korea but by ally the United States, which wants to see regional tension ease.
In an initial reaction, a commentary by China’s official Xinhua news agency said the “tuned-down apology is not of much help to eliminating Tokyo’s trust deficit.”
It added: “Instead of offering an unambiguous apology, Abe’s statement is rife with rhetorical twists like ‘maintain our position of apology’, dead giveaways of his deep-rooted historical revisionism, which has haunted Japan’s neighborhood relations.”
Later on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui had conveyed Beijing’s position to the Japanese ambassador.
“Japan should make a clear explanation and a sincere apology to the people of the countries who suffered from that era of military aggression,” the ministry said on its website. It urged Japan to “take concrete actions to gain the trust of its Asian neighbors and the global community.”

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