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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 12:00am

Former Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama apologises for atrocities in China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 11:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 2:48am

Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama has offered a personal apology for Japan's wartime atrocities in China and blamed tensions in the East China Sea on Tokyo.

He also departed from the view of Japan's political establishment by criticising Tokyo's dependence on the US.

As a Japanese citizen, I feel that it's my duty to apologise for even just one Chinese civilian killed brutally by Japanese soldiers and that such action cannot be excused by saying that it occurred during war
Former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama

Hatoyama made the remarks at a speech delivered at the City University of Hong Kong yesterday. Commenting on his visit this year to the memorial hall dedicated to victims of the massacre in Nanjing, the former prime minister said what Japanese troops did during the Nanjing massacre was not acceptable.

"As a Japanese citizen, I feel that it's my duty to apologise for even just one Chinese civilian killed brutally by Japanese soldiers and that such action cannot be excused by saying that it occurred during war," he said.

Hatoyama, 66, stirred controversy earlier this year when he told Chinese media that territorial sovereignty over the East China Sea was disputed, even though the Japanese government insists there are no disputes over the islands known as Diaoyus in China and Senkakus in Japan. His remarks prompted Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera to label him a "traitor".

Yesterday, Hatoyama said tensions over the East China Sea were a result of "signals sent to China by Japan". He did not elaborate on these "signals" but earlier this year he told Phoenix TV that it was "unavoidable that the Chinese side thinks Japan stole" the islands, a remark that Tokyo described as "outrageous".

Hatoyama, of the Democratic Party of Japan, now in opposition, criticised the Japan administration for complicating strained relations between the two Asian powers by enhancing ties with the US.

"Instead of trying to resolve the issue by sitting down with China, the current administration makes it very difficult; they move the relationship closer to the United States," he said.

Jeff Kingston, director of Asia Studies at Temple University in Japan, said the mainstream view in Japan was that China was to blame for tensions in the East China Sea. "There are many Japanese who do recognise war responsibility, but given the spiralling down of bilateral relations, many Japanese feel threatened by China, [and] his remarks seem overly positive," Kingston said.


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How can Japan be accepted as a peace loving country
After 1945, West Germany did everything in its power to squelch any possibility of repeating the mistakes of World War II.
The nation’s post-war constitution included provisions to limit the number of troops in the standing defense force. Also, Bundeswehr, the nation’s federal defense force, could not be used inside of Germany’s borders or anywhere Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht had previously occupied.
On December 7, 1970, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt travelled to Warsaw, Poland and dropped to his knees before the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943. Many in Poland and Germany were deeply moved by this famous gesture of repentance and apology.
Done in the name of Germans past and present, the silent act was arguably more powerful than any words Brandt might have uttered. It demonstrates how language sometimes falls short of capturing the overwhelming tragedy of genocide and war—and of human beings’ inhumanity towards one another.
This image of Willy Brandt kneeling has become a symbol. A symbol of accepting the past and of understanding it as an obligation for reconciliation. As an obligation for a common future. Like so many Germans and Poles I will never forget this image. It has come to be a reminder and a political credo for entire generations.
.What Abe trying to do now is just the opposite.Japan refuse to even admit let alone apology for the invasion, looting, massacre and rape in China.
This is not enough. Every Japanese must apologize to every Chinese person.
China will not forgive or forget.
China has the right to bring up Japan's international crime at anytime.
Don't show your Sino-Centric ignorance. Out of a WWII total population of about 25 million, one million Philippines citizens were murdered during the Japanese occupation, not to mention the thousands of comfort women enslaved. Filipinos have as much right to be aggrieved as any Chinese and they are in just as good a position to judge this as you. Ghormax's point is that today's Japanese are not the same people who perpetrated the atrocities. If a man shoots you, would you put his neighbour in prison for it? Unlike the Filipinos who are forgiving, many Chinese show a petty and vengeful attitude and would punish every Japanese person for ever.
Wow. This public acknowledgement is a pretty big step coming from Japan.
Finally someone with the balls to speak the truth.
let's see Japan tell the truth in their educational textbooks....
China was not the only victim of Japan's aggression. Don't the other millions of non Chinese civilians and Allied soldiers who were brutalised and horribly murdered count? Why?
Your attitude is stupid. Punish the criminal, not his grandchildren.
My comment was on @******** above as he as well is from the Philippines and now faking to be a Chinese Mainlander to stir some trouble here.
Mr. Hatoyama, are you happy to hear an applause to you by the audience? That's all very well.



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