Japan’s Abe prepares his own version of history

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Japan’s Abe prepares his own version of history

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Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will issue an official statement of his views on past affairs, raising concerns in Korea that he will backtrack from statements by former leaders apologizing for colonial rule and wartime misdeeds.

The statement is expected to include views Abe expressed during his campaign in September to win the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party and also in the December campaign to win control of the lower house of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. Abe emphasized the need to amend an apology made by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama on Aug. 15, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the ending of World War II, to victims of the war and colonial rule, and also a 1993 apology to the wartime sex slaves made by the chief cabinet secretary, Yohei Kono.

It is the first time, however, that Abe expressed his determination to issue a so-called “Abe statement.”

“[The Murayama statement] was issued by then head of the Social Democratic Party Tomiichi Murayama on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War but from then on, time has passed and we have greeted the 21st century,” Abe was quoted as saying in an interview published by the Sankei Shimbun yesterday.

“I plan to introduce a statement that suits the 21st century as leader of the future-oriented Abe cabinet.”

He continued: “I plan to gather experts to discuss what contents should be included [in the Abe statement] and when I will announce it.”

In the interview, Abe also said, “Because of the former Democratic Party of Japan, confidence [in Japanese diplomacy] has been lost and Japan is currently being looked down at by many countries.”

By Lee Eun-joo, Kim Hyun-ki [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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