New Japan PM to send envoys to South Korea amid territory dispute

SEOUL/TOKYO Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:54am EST

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo December 26, 2012. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo December 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will send envoys to meet South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye next month, a spokeswoman for Park said, a sign of Japan reaching out to its neighbor despite feuds over territory and wartime history.

Japan's relations with South Korea frayed badly in August after outgoing President Lee Myung-bak visited a disputed set of islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea. Koreans also harbor bitter resentment of Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945.

The hawkish Abe, who wants to recast Japan's wartime history in less apologetic tones, led his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to a landslide victory in the December 16 lower house election, putting the conservative party back in power after a three-year hiatus.

The spokeswoman did not say who the envoys will be, but Abe told reporters last week he planned to send former finance minister Fukushiro Nukaga "to improve and develop Japan-South Korea relations". Abe visits on January 4.

Public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday that LDP senior lawmaker Takeo Kawamura would join Nukaga in the delegation.

Despite their close economic ties, Tokyo's relations with its East Asian neighbors Seoul and Beijing have long been overshadowed by Japan's militaristic past.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Thursday fell short of confirming Japan will uphold a landmark 1993 government statement acknowledging that Asian women were forced into sex slaves at wartime Japanese military brothels.

"History scholars and other experts are conducting study (on the issue). It is desirable such research be continued," Suga told reporters.

But Suga has said the new government will stand by a historic 1995 statement by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, apologizing for suffering caused by Japan's wartime aggression.

(Reporting by Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and Jack Kim in Seoul; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Comments (2)
Janeallen wrote:
Absolutely Machiavellian.
To Korea and China, he released a superficial posture accompanied by a statement with no substance, aimed to decrease the spontaneous boycott among many Asians. The boycott was created entirely by the Japanese Government ministers’ deliberate effort to arouse Japanese worship of Japanese Nazi war criminals who ravaged Asia as inhumane coldblooded mass murderers, out of extreme obedience to the current Japanese Emperor royal blood line.

Not to insist on the removal of the Japanese Emperor is the biggest mistake committed by Truman, if war ever breaks out out of the recent resurgence of nostalgia of Japanese militarism, carefully fanned and fueled by Abe and other hawkish Japanese Government officials.

Through NHK, he arouses dangerous militaristic Japanese nationalism by describing the territories that were historically, and traditionally used by ordinary little guys to make a living from Korea and from Taiwan; he consistently distorted the truth to the Japanese people by saying that he will “defend Japan’s territory” — completely passing over the facts about the history of predatory invasion by Japan in the vast areas that include these islands, and the memory of holocaust among victims of Japanese war crimes, which most Japanese are in denial about as far as the extent and reality of the horror and lasting damage and legacies in these regions.

His speech NEVER gives ANY consideration to the human rights of the ordinary citizens from Korea and from Taiwan, who had been making their living in the disputed territories, just like Japan has disregarded the human rights of nearly a billion war victims and their affected descendants when Japan continually distorts historical truths about its crimes against humanity in the western press and in the official Japanese textbooks. For generations of misguided Japanese children, the truth of the depraved hearts of their grandparents and great grandparents is often rejected as so called “defamation”! Nothing can be more promoting of the danger of war than such distortion and co-ordinated cover up of some of the most egregious war crimes in human history, from 1890s to 1945, by one single war mongering country, the aggression of which was contemporaneously cheered upon by numerous American Presidents and American press with absolute disregard of human suffering and carnage.

It’s time that Obama heals these wounds of Asian war victims and their deeply affected, and often scarred descendants, by a meaningful acknowledgement of the contribution of the United States towards the effectuation of Japanese war crimes in Asia over those decades. I hope it won’t take as long as it has taken for the press to allow even the discussion of these war crimes without corroboration in the harassment of any human person with the conscience to speak up, to document, to spread the word about the truth and this chapter of horrendous calamity in our human race.

Defending war crimes become a point of rally for Japanese nationalism — all done under the goading and support by Americans, and most western reporters. Horrendous injustice in journalistic history of our humankind.

It’s utterly shameful that the Obama Administration and our Congress condone the continuation of the Japanese Nazi Aryan race rhetoric over Asian territories, with NO regard to human rights, and only making decisions based on ugly, dishonest politics.

Dec 28, 2012 7:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Janeallen wrote:
Incidentally, Stalin was no less deplorable in his predatory activity in Eastern Europe after WWII; that was never suggested as an excuse to whitewash Hitler’s war crimes.

Likewise, Japan’s fanning of red scare in Asia, was a continuation of its Aryan race rhetoric in disguise, and had absolutely NOTHING to do with the standoffs and conflicts related to Communist countries or otherwise.

It’s time that the world faces our failures head on and squarely, without any more excuses. It must happen right away before more mistakes are committed by our western leaders, including Obama.

Dec 28, 2012 7:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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