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Shinzo Abe

Japan has squarely faced history, and is committed to stronger ties with China and South Korea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 10:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 10:43pm

Your editorial, “Abe must remember that actions speak louder than words” (April 10), provides an inaccurate representation.

The editorial criticises Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the “refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing towards China and Korea in the first half of the last century”. 

However, Japan has squarely faced history. As Prime Minister Abe himself stated in 2015, on the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war: “We Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history.

“Japan has repeatedly expressed the feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war … Such a position articulated by the previous cabinets will remain unshakeable into the future.”

‘Comfort women’ deal: compensation and apology from Shinzo Abe as rivals South Korea and Japan reach landmark deal on wartime sex slaves

Secondly, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. In fact, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands.

Thirdly, regarding the comfort women issue, Japan and South Korea reached an agreement and confirmed in 2015 that the issue was resolved finally and irreversibly. This was widely appreciated by the international community and the majority of former comfort women. Japan has been implementing all the commitments, and will continue to call on South Korea to steadily implement this agreement.

Last but certainly not least, Japan’s concrete efforts in improving ties with China and South Korea should not be missed. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, and the 20th anniversary of the Japan-South Korea Joint Declaration on a new partnership, and Japan is determined to strengthen its ties with both countries.

China Premier Li to visit Hokkaido as Sino-Japan ties warm up

Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Seoul this month and agreed with the Korean side to forge future-oriented relations. Meanwhile, during Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Tokyo, ministers Kono and Wang agreed to comprehensively improve bilateral relations through visits by leaders from either side. Prime Minister Abe himself is expected to visit China to realise this commitment.

Sugita Masahiko, public relations and cultural affairs director, the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong