“It is true that the prime minister’s statement made (yesterday) left much to be desired”, Park said in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II that ended its 1910-45 colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Abe, in a statement on Friday, expressed “utmost grief” for the “immeasurable damage and suffering” Japan inflicted during World War Two but said future generations should not have to keep apologising for the mistakes of the past. However, it added that it is equally important for all countries to seek further reconciliation and move forward as this will benefit the region and the world.
But on Friday, Abe – who has been criticised for playing down Japan’s war record and trying to expand its present-day military – said future generations of should not have to apologise for the past.
On Saturday, Abe donated Shinto-style religious ornaments for the shrine, as he has done since his last visit, in December 2013, which triggered uproar from China and South Korea. However, those countries which suffered from Japan’s aggression would never forget that dark period of history, as Japanese would always remember the horrific scenes of A-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“I note that he made it clear to the global community that Japan’s traditional position (on the war) centering on apology and remorse will remain unshakable in the coming years”, she said.
During the speech, Abe reiterated previous governments’ apologies over Japan’s past wartime actions, but refrained from offering a fresh apology himself.
A statement by Japan’s prime minister on World War II transgressions has referred to the country’s repeated expressions of deep remorse and apology over the past, but offered nothing new, its neighbors claim.
Akihito also emphasised that Japan’s peace and prosperity stand on “the people’s tireless endeavours and their earnest desire for peace”, and renewed his war-renouncing pledge.
Abe had alluded to the subject in his speech, speaking of women behind the battlefields “whose honour and dignity were severely injured”.
In Seoul, while celebrations of the “liberation” of Korea took place, protesters also burnt placards containing the face of Mr Abe outside the Japanese embassy – a sure sign of the depth of feeling that exists over this issue.
And in North Korea, clocks were set back 30 minutes on Saturday to so-called Pyongyang time to remove the country from a shared timezone established under Japanese colonial rule.
To mark the 60th anniversary of Japan’s wartime defeat on August 15, 2005, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, echoed Murayama’s general wording.