Abe to tap 'wisdom' for WWII statement

Abe to tap 'wisdom' for WWII statement
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the Japan-U.S. Economic Forum in Los Angeles on Friday.

LOS ANGELES - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed Friday that the "collected wisdom" of various people will be drawn upon to devise a statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Abe also reiterated his intent to mention remorse for Japan's wartime past, its postwar path as a pacifist nation and its future contributions to the region and the world.

"I hope to prepare something worth conveying to the world based on amassed wisdom," he told reporters at a hotel in Los Angeles during his US visit.

The Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century and on Japan's Role and the World Order in the 21st Century is tasked with offering recommendations to the prime minister on the closely watched statement.

Asked about the panel, Abe responded: "The matter is being discussed by individuals from various fields and of different generations. Their points will serve as reference in compiling the forthcoming statement."

Abe intends to inherit past cabinets' views on historical perceptions. "The 70th war anniversary statement will be formulated under this premise," he added.

Since launching in February, the 16-member panel has held four meetings. Chaired by Japan Post Holdings Co. President Taizo Nishimura, it comprises experts from diverse fields, including academia, business and the media. The results of their discussions are set to be reported to Abe before the statement is issued this summer.

In Wednesday's address to the US Congress, which had been seen as an opportunity to share his basic stance on the war anniversary statement, Abe used such expressions as "deep remorse," "deep repentance" and "suffering to the peoples in Asian countries" over Japan's wartime past. But he stopped short of using "invasion" and "apology" in the speech.

Regarding opposition party criticism over mentioning his aim to pass security-related bills by this summer, Abe said: "I already stated so during Diet deliberations in February. As for enacting the legislation, I'd naturally say my target is the current Diet session. I'll do my best to achieve that goal."

Abe said the legislation and newly revised Japan-US defence guidelines are intended to facilitate the bilateral alliance and are not bound by geographical constraints.

Replying to a question about the selection of a venue for a summit meeting of major industrialized countries to be held in Japan next year, Abe said, "We're considering it from all sides."

"One crucial factor is that the venue should allow us to have talks in a comfortable setting," he added. "Even at this stage, I'm still not completely decided."

The host is slated to be selected from the seven cities - Sendai; Niigata; Hamamatsu; Nagoya; Shima, Mie Prefecture; Kobe; and Hiroshima - and one town - Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture - that have made bids.

Calls for investment in Japan

On Friday morning, Abe arrived in Los Angeles - the final stop of his US trip - where he attended the Japan-US Economic Forum.

Abe called for more investment in Japan before an audience of about 450 people, including business leaders from both countries. "As I seek more foreign investment in Japan, I have no plans to relent on reforms," he said.

The forum was also attended by US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Afterward, Abe offered flowers at a monument for Japanese-Americans who fought in Europe and elsewhere during World War II and visited the Japanese American National Museum.

"I want to ensure that ties between Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans are carried on to the next generation," Abe said in a meeting with Japanese-Americans. "I hope these efforts will further the Japan-US relationship."

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