With the recent right-wing comments made by top people from the Japanese government, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is right to disassociate himself from such controversy. The foreign minister described the nationalistic statements as “regrettable” and maintains that they don’t represent the government’s views on the said issues.
The new NHK chief drew criticisms when he said that “comfort women” were common during wartime, while another official from the national broadcaster denied the massacre of Nanjing ever happened. Such statements earned the fury of China and South Korea and were taken to mean that the Japanese government is leaning far to the right. However, Kishida said that his nation’s foreign policy and historical views have not changed. “It is very regrettable if these remarks have caused misunderstanding about the Japanese government’s position,” he said. Japan has already issued a public apology on its past military aggression in 1993, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly upheld those statements while also casting doubts on Japan’s role in the war, hinting that his administration may be moving to a more nationalistic agenda.
With China and South Korea expressing concern on historical perspective as fuel to the increased tension between their nations and Japan over disputed islands, Kishida described China’s recent activities as worrisome but not threatening. He described China as an important country for Japan, saying, “If China develops peacefully, it is a benefit and an opportunity for Japan, and for the region… In that sense, I think China is not a threat to our country.” But noted that increased maritime activities “are common concerns of the entire region,” which Japan is closely monitoring. Kishida continues to push for summits with their Asian neighbors to address concerns. “Japan has separate problems with China and South Korea, and we do face a difficult situation. That’s why it’s even more important for us to have high-level political dialogues.”
[via Washington Post]