Japan’s former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama is urging current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to stand by the blanket apology issued by the government in 1995 for the country’s wartime atrocities. This comes after reports have been made in the press saying Abe is considering revising the statement as some aspects of it don’t sit right with right-wing politicians in the ruling party.
“It has become an international pledge and Japan’s national policy. It’s impossible to deny it, and for that reason I trust Prime Minister Abe would observe it,” Murayama said regarding the statement that was named after him. All 10 Prime Ministers after him have endorsed the Murayama Statement, including Abe during his first term in 2007. It is seen as the ultimate expression of Japan’s remorse for its militaristic behavior during its colonial and wartime past.
Murayama, who served as the premier from 1994-1996, is also strongly urging Abe to uphold the Kono Statement, made in 1993 to apologize for the issue of the forced prostitution of Asian women during the war to serve the Japanese Imperial Army. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga recently said they are looking at revisiting the interviews made with the so-called “comfort women” which were the basis for the statement. The idea of revising or even revisiting these two statements has caused outrage in the international community, particularly China and South Korea, the two most affected by Japan’s past behavior.
Murayama was also critical of the nationalist lawmakers’ decision to take another look at the interviews because there were no official wartime documents that support their statements. The 89-year-old former Prime Minister visited Seoul earlier this month and met with three former comfort women and afterwards he said this issue should be “settled expeditiously.”
[ via Yahoo ]