Abe says no 'apology' in WWII statement

Abe says no 'apology' in WWII statement
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not use the word "apology" in his upcoming statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, he told the leader of the ruling coalition's junior party Friday.

Abe explained the wording of a draft statement to Komeito's Natsuo Yamaguchi, who urged Abe to "use expressions that convey the spirit of apology."

Yamaguchi also called on the prime minister to describe Imperial Japan's expansionism as "aggression," as past Japanese leaders have, among them Tomiichi Murayama in a 1995 statement marking half a century since the war's end.

Murayama, the socialist head of a coalition government that included Abe's Liberal Democratic Party, also used the word "apology," as did the LDP's own Junichiro Koizumi in a 2005 statement.

Abe said he would make clear that the statement carries on in the tradition of past cabinets' views on wartime history. But Yamaguchi argued that simply writing so "doesn't make clear what's being carried on."

Abe is finished discussing the statement with the Komeito side, according to a person who attended Friday's meeting. "From here on in, the prime minister will make the final decision on the text," this person said.

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