Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Sunday said the Abe administration does not wish to hold summits with Korea and China if it is forced to change its stance on historical issues, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Friday.
Suga's comments show Japan's reluctance to divert from its march to the far right after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the country's war dead including convicted World War II criminals.
Suga told the paper that the door to dialogue "always remains open" and that he hopes a summit with Seoul and Beijing could happen when the timing is right. Abe also said in a previous interview that a summit should attach "no preconditions."
Suga said Abe visited the war shrine in order to convey his resolve that people should never again suffer from the horrors of war and that Tokyo intends to explain this position to its regional neighbors.
But a Foreign Ministry official here said Suga's comments "merely reflect the Japanese government's nervousness about international criticism" over Abe's actions and that Seoul "does not feel the need to respond."