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Japan can’t buy UN seat, aide to U.S. official says

May 19,2005
WASHINGTON ― Dennis P. Halpin, an aide to a member of the U.S. House International Relations Committee, said yesterday that unless Japan faces up to its past World War II crimes, the country should not become a member of the UN Security Council.
Speaking at a seminar in Washington, Mr. Halpin said, “Unless Japan apologizes clearly for its past actions such as former German leader Willie Brandt did ― who dropped to his knees in Poland to apologize to the Jewish people ― Japan cannot buy a seat in the Security Council.”
Mr. Halpin is an aide to Henry Hyde, chairman of the International Relations Committee at the House.
South Korea and China have officially opposed Japan’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, citing a lack of effort by Tokyo to acknowledge its past war crimes that include forcefully employing South Koreans for its war effort during World War II. Envisioning a larger role for Japan to play in the region, Washington has officially backed Tokyo’s bid to become a member of the Security Council.
“Could the United States imagine German lawmakers taking part at a memorial event for Nazis?” Mr. Halpin asked. “Japan should not bow to war criminals but it should remove these war criminals from the Yasukuni Shrine.”
Last month, trying to appease neighboring nations, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro issued an official expression of regret for his country’s aggression during World War II and the period of colonial rule over the Korean peninsula. The apology came amid growing tension between Tokyo and Seoul and also Beijing as Japan authorized Japanese history textbooks that were viewed as whitewashing past war crimes.
While Japan has issued public apologies before, the authorization sparked violent protests in Beijing and Seoul and led also to a boycott of Japanese goods. As Mr. Koizumi was delivering his speech, a number of Japanese national lawmakers visited the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo at the same time, leaving doubt to the sincerity of his apology.


by Kang Chan-ho


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