May 16, 2013 11:41
Bowing to international pressure, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will endorse a 1995 apology by then-prime minister Tomiichi Murayama to all Asian victims of Japanese aggression.
In April, Abe told the Japanese Diet that he does not feel bound by what is known as the Murayama statement and vowed to issue a new one by 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II.
The comments drew fierce condemnation from Korea and China as well as the U.S. and Europe.
Asked about a remark last month that he does not believe Japan's World War II occupation of other Asian countries can be considered "invasions," Abe took a step back on Wednesday. "I never said Japan did not invade other countries," he said.
He added that he believes those in power should have respect for history.
Abe also distanced himself from rightwing Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's recent comments that women forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II were "necessary." Abe said neither he nor the ruling Liberal Democratic Party share these sentiments.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com