Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ex-PM Murayama says Japan must keep his 1995 landmark war, colonial apology as global pledge

In this July 26, 2011 photo, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks at a symposium in Beijing, China. Murayama said Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 that the landmark 1995 war apology carrying his name is an international pledge that Japan must not change, amid speculation that the current conservative leaders want to revise it. During his rare public speech in Tokyo since his retirement in 2000, Murayama said that Japan should also keep another apology over forced prostitution before and during World War II, and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stand by both statements. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

Enlarge Image

In this July 26, 2011 photo, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama speaks at a symposium in Beijing, China. Murayama said Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 that the landmark 1995 war apology carrying his name is an international pledge that Japan must not change, amid speculation that the current conservative leaders want to revise it. During his rare public speech in Tokyo since his retirement in 2000, Murayama said that Japan should also keep another apology over forced prostitution before and during World War II, and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stand by both statements. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

TOKYO - Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Thursday that the landmark 1995 war apology carrying his name is an international pledge that Japan must not change, amid speculation that the current conservative leaders want to revise it.

Murayama said that Japan should also keep another apology over forced prostitution before and during World War II, and urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stand by both statements.

"Nobody can deny the Murayama statement," he said during his rare public speech in Tokyo since his retirement in 2000. "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."

The apology was issued under Murayama and is seen as Japan's main expression of remorse for its wartime and colonial past. It has since been endorsed by all 10 prime ministers, including Abe's earlier administration in 2007.

Since taking office in 2012, Abe has angered China and South Korea, which were occupied by Japan before and during World War II, by questioning the meaning of the word "aggression" in the 1995 apology and saying there is no international consensus on its definition. Abe suggested that his Cabinet does not necessarily support the entire apology, though he later promised to stand by it.

Abe's visit to Tokyo's shrine honouring the war dead including convicted war criminals in December has escalated tension with Japan's neighbours.

Murayama was a Democratic Socialist who led the three-party coalition government that included Abe's Liberal Democratic Party from 1994 to 1996. He issued the statement of apology to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Murayama also criticized growing attempts by nationalist lawmakers to discredit the apology for forced prostitution by citing the lack of official wartime documents specifically stating that the government at the time systematically forced Asian women to provide sex for Japanese soldiers at military brothels.

Although numbers vary, historians say up to 200,000 women from across Asia, mostly Koreans, were forced into prostitution. There is a growing movement by Japanese nationalists and revisionists to try to deny the use of coercion and scrap the 1993 apology signed by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono. They say the apology is based on false accounts provided by former sex slaves from South Korea.

Abe wants to issue a fresh statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year.

Since taking office for the second time, Abe has said he prefers to leave history up to historians and avoid comment.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Submit a Random Act of Kindness
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media