Ex-Japanese Premier Murayama Visits Seoul

Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama arrived in Seoul on Tuesday. He said on arrival, "I hope that Seoul and Tokyo will trust, and open their heart to, each other."

In 1995, Murayama issued a statement admitting and apologizing for Japan's colonial rule. He was perhaps the most proactive of all Japanese prime ministers in efforts to resolve issues stemming from Japan's history of invading neighboring nations.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama (right) receives a painting by the late Kim Sun-duk, one of the women who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army, during a visit to an exhibition of artworks by the former Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama (right) receives a painting by the late Kim Sun-duk, one of the women who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army, during a visit to an exhibition of artworks by the former "comfort women" in the National Assembly compound in Seoul on Tuesday.

Murayama came at invitation of the Justice Party. "Japan and Korea have had a long historical relationship and have many things in common. I wonder why we now have this kind of situation," he told lawmakers at the National Assembly compound, referring to growing tensions amid Tokyo's attempts to whitewash its track record.

"Since the second Abe administration took power, there has been some noise," he added. "But nobody can deny the 'Murayama statement.'"

He also visited an exhibition space in the lawmakers' hall, where artworks by women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese imperial soldiers were on display. He is expected to meet Prime Minister Jung Hong-won on Thursday.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 12, 2014 11:51 KST

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