Ja­pan, S Korea strike con­cil­ia­tory note on war an­niver­sary

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TOKYO and Seoul struck a con­cil­ia­tory note yes­ter­day on the an­niver­sary of the end of World War II, with South Korea’s pres­i­dent call­ing for a “fu­ture­ori­ented” re­la­tion­ship and Ja­pan’s prime min­is­ter de­nounc­ing the “hor­rors of war”.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe sent a rit­ual do­na­tion to a con­tro­ver­sial Tokyo war shrine but again avoided vis­it­ing it, in an ap­par­ent nod to China and South Korea.

South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Ge­unhye called for a “fu­ture-ori­ented” re­la­tion­ship with Tokyo even as a group of Seoul law­mak­ers sparked of­fi­cial anger in Ja­pan by vis­it­ing islets claimed by both na­tions.

Au­gust 15 is an emo­tional date in both coun­tries, re­mem­bered in Ja­pan as the day in 1945 when wartime Em­peror Hiro­hito an­nounced the sur­ren­der.

In South Korea, it is marked as the day Ja­pan’s harsh and bru­tal 35-year oc­cu­pa­tion of the Korean penin­sula came to an end.

China, which was par­tially oc­cu­pied by Ja­pan from the early 1930s to 1945, marks the end of the war on Septem­ber 3.

A fre­quent flash­point for na­tion­al­ist ten­sions is Ya­sukuni Shrine, which hon­ours mil­lions of war dead, in­clud­ing se­nior mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal fig­ures con­victed of war crimes after the con­flict’s end.

Em­peror Ak­i­hito and Mr Abe both re­it­er­ated Ja­pan’s com­mit­ment to peace at an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony to com­mem­o­rate the war dead.

“We shall never again re­peat the hor­rors of war,” Mr Abe said.

The em­peror ex­pressed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments.

“Re­flect­ing on our past and bear­ing in mind the feel­ings of deep re­morse, I earnestly hope that the rav­ages of war will never be re­peated,” he said.

Ms Park, in her na­tion­ally tele­vised speech in Tokyo, stressed the need to look for­ward.

“We should newly de­fine re­la­tions with Ja­pan to forge fu­ture-ori­ented ties,” she said.

Her re­marks co­in­cided with the visit by 10 law­mak­ers to the Dokdo islets where they met South Korean se­cu­rity per­son­nel based there.

Photo: AFP

Kim Bok-dong, who was forced to serve as a sex slave for Ja­panese troops dur­ing World War II, speaks to the me­dia after a bell-ring­ing event to mark the 71st an­niver­sary of South Korea’s lib­er­a­tion from Ja­panese colo­nial rule in Seoul yes­ter­day.

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