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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Japan lawmakers voice 'regret' for WWII but skip 'aggression' - Yahoo! News

Japan lawmakers voice 'regret' for WWII but skip 'aggression' - Yahoo! NewsYahoo! News
Japan lawmakers voice 'regret' for WWII but skip 'aggression'

Japan's lower house of parliament have adopted a resolution on the 60th anniversary of World War II that states Tokyo regrets the "suffering" it caused in Asia but avoids the word "aggression", which was used in a similar statement in 1995.

"We deeply regret the tremendous suffering caused by our country's acts during a certain period in the past on the peoples in Asia and other countries and offer sincere condolences anew to all victims," the resolution said.

It dropped references to Japan's "colonial rule" and "acts of aggression" included in the resolution that marked the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

Japan has been under pressure from its neighbors, notably China and South Korea, to atone for its wartime aggression.

Its relations with China and South Korea have become strained in recent months because of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to a shrine that honors war dead, including war criminals.

Tokyo's approval of a nationalist history textbook, which critics say glosses over Japanese transgressions during the war, has also angered Beijing and Seoul.

Koizumi issued an apology for the past at a summit in Indonesia of Asian and African leaders in April, using the words "colonial rule" and "aggression".

The summit was attended by President Hu Jintao of China, which with South Korea has accused Koizumi of failing to show remorse for the war.

Both Tuesday's resolution and Koizumi's speech in Indonesia used some of the same language as statements under former prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, a Socialist who was in power during the 50th anniversary of the war's end.

In 1995 Murayama's coalition rammed a resolution through parliament that acknowledged Japan had taken part in some of the "many instances of colonial rule and acts of aggression in the modern history of the world."

The resolution was boycotted by some conservatives and criticized by leftists who said it did not go far enough.

Tuesday's resolution also deplores nuclear weapons. Japan suffered the world's only nuclear bombings in August 1945, which killed more than 210,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Under the ideal of eternal peace advocated in the Japanese constitution, the government of Japan, the only atomic-bombed nation, should join hands with all the people in the world and make utmost efforts to abolish nuclear arms ... and open a future in which all human beings live together in a sustainable way," it reads.

The resolution was submitted by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner New Komeito and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

The left-leaning Social Democratic Party, which wanted stronger wording, supported the resolution. The Japanese Communist Party voted against it.

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