Japan's UN envoy stresses nation's pacifist path

Japan's UN envoy stresses nation's pacifist path
The United Nations Security Council is pictured at the United Nations in the Manhattan borough of New York February 17, 2015.

Motohide Yoshikawa, Japan's permanent representative at the United Nations, on Monday stressed his country's contribution to world peace, saying: " ... Japan has, based on feelings of deep remorse regarding the Second World War ... walked the path of peace-loving nation that contributes to the peace and security of the world."

Yoshikawa made the remarks at an open debate of the UN Security Council held in commemoration of the 70th anniversaries of the launch of the United Nations and the end of World War II.

The debate was proposed and chaired by China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who chaired the meeting, delivered a veiled rebuke to Japan by saying there are still some who attempt to "whitewash past crimes of aggression" without naming Japan.

Under the theme of the "maintenance of international peace and security," the debate was proposed by China, which is this month's rotating president of the UN Security Council. The meeting was attended by ministers and UN permanent representatives from about 80 nations, who took turns in making a five-minute statement.

Yoshikawa said: " ... the world is facing unprecedented crises posed by the expansion of extremism and terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global warming and infectious disease. This reminds us there is an even greater need to be united in order to tackle threats common to us all ... I therefore welcome the holding of today's open debate ..."

He also said, " ... Japan has made assiduous effort to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world" and that the path the country has taken as "a peace-loving nation is the pride of Japanese people and it will never change."

The Japanese ambassador also called for advancing discussions on reforming the Security Council, including the expansion of the permanent seats.

Wang, meanwhile, stressed China was a victor in the "anti-fascist war." "Seventy years ago, the great victory in the world anti-fascist war was won," Wang said. " ... China was an important force in the world anti-fascist alliance theatre in the east. Together with other countries, China endured great national sacrifice and [made] significant historic contribution to the final victory."

He also said " ... although the historical facts have long been made clear on the war against fascism, there are still some reluctant to recognise the truth and even attempt to overturn the verdict and whitewash past crimes of aggression."

The Chinese foreign minister also indicated his nation would promote events to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, saying, "I hope that today's open debate will serve as a prelude to our joined commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-fascist war, as well as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN"

Meanwhile, Oh Joon, South Korea's permanent representative to the United Nations, referred to "attempts to disregard lessons of history," but did not name a specific country making such attempts.

Representatives from many other major countries discussed recent international developments in connection with the Ukraine situation and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Suga refutes China's claim.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga refuted comments on historical perceptions made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in what was believed to be an effort to curb Japan, saying: "Japan is receiving a high evaluation from the international community for the pacifist path it has taken for 70 years since the end of the war, based on deep remorse regarding the last war."

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