Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Ma tells Japan to ‘do more,’ ‘do better’ over war apology

Staff writer, with CNA

A demonstrator wearing a mask showing the face of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe poses for a photograph in front of Japanese military flags reading “Japan must apologize” during an anti-Japan protest outside the Japanese representative office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: AP

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said Taiwan believes in Japan’s willingness to reflect on its mistakes, but that he hoped Tokyo would “do more” and “do better” in addressing its aggression during World War II, especially on the issue of “comfort women.”

Acknowledging that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed remorse for Japan’s aggression during World War II in a speech marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Ma said that the government believes Japan is willing to reflect on its past actions.

Ma made the remarks in a speech at the opening of an exhibition in Taipei commemorating what it refers to as the Republic of China’s (ROC) 1945 victory over Japan in the War of Resistance.

Consistent with stances held by former Japanese prime ministers, Abe expressed deep repentance for his nation’s actions during World War II.

“We must never again repeat the devastation of war,” Abe said. “Incident, aggression, war — we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world.”

“With deep repentance for the war, Japan made that pledge,” he said, adding that Japan has repeatedly expressed feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology for its actions during the war.

Citing Abe’s remarks, Ma said the Japanese prime minister touched on many of the words that have been the focus of attention for many of the region’s nations that suffered from Japan’s aggression.

However, Ma said Abe chose to address them in a different way than his predecessors, which has drawn mixed reactions.

While accepting Japan’s willingness to repent, Ma urged Japan to “do more” and “do better” in addressing its wartime actions, especially on the issue of comfort women.

“Comfort women” is a euphemism for women across Asia, including those from Taiwan, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.

Ma said the Japanese military invaded Taiwan 120 years ago, occupied northeastern parts of China 84 years ago and launched an all-out invasion into China 78 years ago — the start of the ROC’s eight-year war against Japan.

That war was part of World War II, in which Japan and the other Axis powers were defeated by the Allied powers.

Ma said he hopes Japan would continue to recognize historical facts and take concrete actions to achieve reconciliation and develop friendly relations with its neighboring nations.

He said Taiwan would continue to maintain a “special partnership” with Japan, and jointly maintain peace and prosperity in the region.

Separately yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) welcomed Abe’s speech.

“It is a positive thing that Abe mentioned the words ‘invasion’ and ‘colonization’ for the first time in his speech. We agree with his commitment to peace, and hope that Japan would continue to play a key role in regional peace,” Tsai said. “We would also like to join the effort to maintain peace and stability in Asia, so that all nations can focus on handling economic issues.”

Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin

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