Japan PM Abe wants to replace landmark war apology - paper

TOKYO Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:58pm IST

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture December 29, 2012. REUTERS/Itsuo Inouye/Pool

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inspects the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture December 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Itsuo Inouye/Pool

Related Topics

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to replace a landmark 1995 apology for suffering caused in Asia during World War Two with an unspecified "forward-looking statement", a newspaper reported on Monday.

Abe, a hawkish conservative who is known to want to recast Japan's position on its wartime militarism in less apologetic tones, led his party to a landslide victory in a December 16 election.

He outlined his intention to restate Japan's position in an interview with the conservative Sankei newspaper, but he did not give details.

Any hint that Japan is back-tracking from the 1995 apology, issued by then Prime Minister Tomic Murayama, is likely to outrage neighbours, particularly China and North and South Korea, which endured years of brutal Japanese rule.

"The Murayama statement was a statement issued by Socialist Party Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama," Abe was quoted as saying in an interview with the conservative Sankei newspaper published on Monday.

"I want to issue a forward-looking statement that is appropriate for the 21st century," he said.

Abe said he would consult experts about the details and the timing of statement.

He has also said he wants to loosen the constraints of Japan's post-war pacifist constitution.

Abe hails from a wealthy political family that includes a grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, who was a wartime cabinet minister who was imprisoned but never tried as a war criminal after the war. He went on to become prime minister from 1957 to 1960.

First elected to parliament in 1993 after the death of his father, a former foreign minister, Abe rose to national fame by adopting a tough stance toward North Korea in a dispute over Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.

More recently, he has promised not to yield in a territorial row with China over tiny islands in the East China Sea - known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China - and boost defence spending to counter China's growing influence.

During a first stint as prime minister, which began in September 2006 and lasted a year, Abe pushed through a parliamentary revision of an education law to "restore patriotism" in school curriculums.

(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Barack Obama in India

Reuters Showcase

Climate Change

Climate Change

U.S.-China climate deal does not put pressure on India, says Modi  Full Article 

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh charges opposition chief with instigating attack on bus  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed "aggression"  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Sweet revenge for Murray as old guard hold firm   Full Article 

Box Office

Box Office

Eastwood's "American Sniper" continues as U.S. box office juggernaut   Full Article 

Boko Haram Fight

Boko Haram Fight

Nigeria repels suspected Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri city  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

Dolly ki Doli is a breezy watch, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage