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2015年8月16日 (日)

クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 歴史認識決着図る 随所に対中配慮


August 15, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Abe makes few references to South Korea in war anniversary statement
クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 歴史認識決着図る 随所に対中配慮


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for summit meetings with South Korean and Chinese leaders on Aug. 14 as his statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II is aimed at resolving the long-running standoff with China, South Korea and other countries over perceptions of wartime history.

Nevertheless, while incorporating his consideration for China into many parts of the statement, Abe made only a few references to South Korea. The Japanese government is poised to carefully see how the two Asian neighbors will respond to the statement.

"Because South Korea is a neighboring country, we have various issues with them. But we must not shut the door for dialogue. Because there are issues, we should hold a summit meeting," Abe said on an NHK news program on the evening of Aug. 14.

On Japan's relations with South Korea, Abe emphasized that he had also given consideration to South Korea in the statement, saying, "I said in the statement that 'the dignity and honor of many women were severely injured.'" Abe incorporated his consideration for China in the statement with such passages as "the Chinese people who underwent all the sufferings of the war." But he made direct mention of South Korea only once in the statement along with other countries and regions such as Taiwan and China. Abe apparently tried to explain the "gap" in reference to China and South Korea in the statement.

The government is exploring the possibility of Abe visiting China in September and holding his first summit meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Abe said in a news conference after releasing the war anniversary statement, "I want the people of China to accept our country's frank feelings 70 years after the end of the war as they stand. If there is an opportunity of a summit, I would like to take advantage of it."

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called his South Korean, British, French and Australian counterparts to explain the content of the statement. Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki met U.S., Chinese and South Korean ambassadors to Japan to convey the content of the statement. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se was quoted as telling Kishida, "We will share the statement within the government of the Republic of Korea." Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua was quoted as telling Saiki that he would convey it to the Chinese government.

A senior government official expressed confidence that China and South Korea would take the statement positively, saying, "It was thoroughly thought out." Another high-ranking government official said, "The word 'deep repentance' goes further than the expressions used in previous statements. If the Chinese and South Korean governments say something, they will be isolated."

On the evening of Aug. 14, Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, told reporters, "There is a highly significant meaning in that a Cabinet decision was made to the effect that the position taken by the previous governments will be taken over and remain unshakable into the future while using such key words as aggression and colonial rule." On the fact that the key words used in the statement represent indirect expressions rather than those of Abe's own, Yamaguchi said, "It is clear that he pledged that Japan will never use force or threaten again."

Hidetsugu Yagi, a conservative polemicist and professor at Reitaku University who is close to Abe, said on a BS NTV program on the evening of Aug. 14, "I want to rate it extremely high." He went on to say, "It relativized the statements by (then Prime Minister Tomiichi) Murayama and (then Prime Minister Junichiro) Koizumi and overwrote them. The Murayama statement has become just one of the statements issued by previous Cabinets and recovered by the Abe statement."

Those comments show that Komeito, which called for Abe to stick to the Murayama statement, and conservatives who called on Abe to relativize the Murayama statement, are both giving high marks for the Abe statement. A senior Komeito official said, "It is significant that conservative Prime Minister Abe said the statements by the previous Cabinets were 'unshakable into the future'." It is based on the view that particularly because Abe is seen as a conservative hardliner, he could rein in the backlash from conservatives even if he take a flexible stance.

However, the government of Prime Minister Abe will have no option but to deal with difficult issues such as efforts to enact security-related bills, intensive negotiations over the relocation of the U.S. Marines' Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture and negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. Prime Minister Abe will also need to clear many other hurdles as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is to hold a leadership election in September, followed by a Cabinet reshuffle and the formation of a new lineup of LDP executives.


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« クローズアップ2015:首相70年談話 安倍カラーを抑制 安保審議が誤算 | トップページ | 戦後70年談話 歴史の教訓胸に未来を拓こう »