This month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to issue a statement to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. For the last several months, media both inside and outside Japan have been intensely speculating as to what he will and will not say in the statement. Foreign governments-including the United States, South Korea, and China-are also paying close attention to the content of the statement.
The focus of this heavy attention lies on to what degree Abe will use the same wording as the 1995 Murayama Statement. The Murayama Statement talks of “deep remorse and heartfelt apology” for Japan’s “aggression” during World War II. In 2005, when then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi issued his statement to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, he also included these phrases (although his statement was not word-for-word identical to the Murayama Statement). Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who crafted the Murayama Statement in 1995, has spoken out, calling on Abe not to say anything to stir concerns in Japan’s Asian neighbors.
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