Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Japan has to face up to wartime past, envoy says

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Japan needs to face up to its wartime past and develop its relationships with neighboring countries “from a forward-looking perspective,” Representative to Japan Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) told the legislature yesterday.

Shen made the remarks when asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) and Yang Ying-hsiung (楊應雄) his views on the recent spate of nationalist tones and gestures of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other politicians.

Lin said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had failed to take action and protest against the Japanese government’s “denial and distortion of history” and demanded that the ministry act like South Korea, which has accused Japan of not looking squarely at history.

Despite the importance of the relationship with Japan and the cordial ties between the two countries’ people, the government should lodge a protest against Japan over the matter “in a timely and appropriate manner,” Yang said.

“What we saw in Tokyo was that, apart from what the Japanese government has said, dissenting opinions have arisen. The issue is still evolving and we will pay close attention,” Shen said.

The representative office in Tokyo has never softened its stance and expressions on issues of concern to national interests, Shen said, adding that Taiwan would continue to maintain friendly bilateral relations.

Several Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers asked him about his “lack of fluency” in Japanese. Shen replied that he had been working on learning the language and attends Japanese-language classes every week.

Shen added that the language issue has never hindered him from “precisely” conveying the nation’s position on issues related to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) East China Sea Peace Initiative in his talks with the Japanese side.

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