August 13, 2015 09:41
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama apologized for his country's World War II atrocities during a visit to a former prison in Seoul on Wednesday where Korean independence fighters were tortured and killed during the occupation.
Hatoyama spent about 40 minutes touring the Seodaemun Prison, where independence fighter Yu Gwan-sun was imprisoned and tortured.
At one point, Hatoyama knelt and paid his respect to those who were killed by Japanese police during Japan's occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
The last Japanese leader to visit the prison was then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2001.
Hatoyama, who is visiting Korea for a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, said current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should make a public apology "from the heart" for his country's wartime atrocities when he delivers a speech at the ceremony on Friday.
Hatoyama was PM from 2009 to 2010.
Meanwhile, Japan's Kyodo News reported Tuesday that former prime ministers Naoto Kan, Morihiro Hosokawa, Tomiichi Murayama and Tsutomu Hata voiced their opposition to Abe's attempts to revise his country's pacifist constitution and allow Japan to dispatch troops abroad.
Kan said Abe would lose his legitimacy as prime minister if he violated the pacifist constitution and urged him to step down.
Abe has pushed through passage of his revisionist bill at the House of Representatives and is awaiting passage by the Upper House.
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