Kan to make apology on annexation this month

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Kan to make apology on annexation this month

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will apologize to Korea for Japan’s colonial rule before the 100th anniversary of the signing of the annexation treaty, Japanese media reported yesterday.

But the apology will be similar to one made by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama to Korea in 1995, they said.

The Asahi Shimbun said Kan decided to make the apology to improve Korea-Japan relations and will base it on Murayama’s version.

The Murayama statement, made on Aug.15, 1995 - the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II - has been used as a standard for apologies for Japanese prime ministers to Asian countries it colonized before and during the war.

“Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations,” Murayama’s statement read. “In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology.”

The Sankei Shimbun also said the apology would be similar to Murayama’s in order to help Japan’s ruling Democratic Party avoid criticism from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP, which had dominated Japanese politics for decades until last year, used the Murayama apology.

On the timing of the apology, the Asahi said the Kan administration may issue the apology around Aug. 15, Korea’s Liberation Day, at the request of Korea’s government.

The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was signed on Aug. 22, 1910, and took effect seven days later. The 36 years of colonial rule ended with Japan’s defeat in World War II on Aug.15, 1945.

When the DPJ took power last August, some Koreans hoped that Japan would become more sincere about the bitter history between the two nations and make a stronger apology.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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