Japan PM stops short of apologising for WWII conduct
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed "deep remorse" about Japan's conduct during World War II in a speech he delivered Wednesday at the Asian-African Summit, known as the Bandung Conference, which opened the same day in Jakarta.
In quoting from the 10-point declaration on promotion of world peace and co-operation, which was adopted at the first Bandung Conference in 1955, Abe referred to "acts of aggression" in his speech.
The prime minister also called on the leaders of the participating countries to work together to "build peace and prosperity."
The Bandung Conference was founded by leaders of countries that became newly independent during the Cold War years in order to demonstrate unity among Third World nations.
This year's conference is being held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its inauguration.
A focus of attention at the Bandung Conference was how Abe would present his historical views in his speech in connection with the statement he plans to make in summer to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In his speech, Abe referred to principles stated in the 10-point declaration adopted 60 years ago, one of which was: "Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country."
With this as a premise, he stated: "Those are some of the principles Bandung affirmed. And Japan, with feelings of deep remorse over the past war, made a pledge to remain a nation always adhering to those very principles throughout, no matter what the circumstances."
At the 2005 Bandung Conference, held as a summit meeting to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its inauguration, then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi said in a speech that Japan had caused immense damage and suffering to the people in Asian countries "through its colonial rule and aggression," and expressed "feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology."
Abe did not use the word "apology" in his speech.
Comparing the state of the world with that of the time when the first Bandung Conference was held, Abe said that "we share a great many more common risks than we did 60 years ago."
Then he emphasised: "We should never allow to go unchecked the use of force by the mightier to twist the weaker around. The wisdom of our forefathers in Bandung was that the rule of law should protect the dignity of sovereign nations, be they large or small."