Abe says he wants Tokyo and Seoul to put wartime enmities behind them

Picture expired. South Korean activists wearing the masks of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a placard translating as 'South Korea-Japan summit!' during an anti-government protest in Seoul, on Friday. AFP

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  • -7

    Nenad Jovanović

    Co mon, protest because of meeting , wdf, really Koreans , loosen little .

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    If Abe truly wants it, he truly needs to show it. He can start by admitting COMPLETELY and sincerely the atrocities committed by the IJA. He can meet directly with former sex-slaves and admit historical wrong-doings. He has made baby-steps back towards the line he helped Japan leaped backwards to when talking about rescinding apologies, but since that is all due to US pressure he needs to show the government is sincere and make laws against hate speech like "the Nanjing Massacre never occurred" that some politicians still insist. So those things and I guarantee there will be inroads. Don't and this whole "let's move forward thing" really only means, "please stop talking about what we did".

  • 2

    magicmodelol

    Nenad, I don't think you've fully grasped the complexity of this situation. What is important is that Abe now is looking to build a better relationship with the Koreans. And that's what the Koreans have been asking for. They aren't angry people by nature. They are just frustrated when we see people like the NHK director vehmentaly deny that war crimes took place. Surely you can see that, no?

    We're on the road to peace. I don't like seeing people (especially japanophiles who know little about the two nations) suit up their battle armour against the 'enemy team'. We want peace.

  • -2

    StormR

    Koreans will never be happy, and they always complain about something that's how they are.

  • 1

    toshiko

    @smithinjapanMAR. 24, 2014 - 07:55AM JST

    make laws against hate speech like "the Nanjing Massacre never occurred" that some politicians still insist. So those things and I guarantee there will be inroads. Don't and this whole "let's move forward thing" really only means, "please stop talking about what we did".

    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    Nanjing Massacre ??? Who said to Korea?????

  • 3

    Roger Jolly

    He could star by admitting Japan historical responsibilities and by providing correct historical education and awareness to his citizens. With all the implications it calls for...

  • -5

    slowguy2

    @ StormR : "Japanese will never be forthright and honest, they always complain about being victims of the people they victimized. That's how they are."

    There, I fixed it for you.

  • -6

    JoeBigs

    On the sidelines of the event he is due to meet with Park and U.S. President Barack Obama after Washington urged the two Asian neighbors to mend strained ties.

    This meeting will accomplish nothing, President Park is only going to this meeting because she was outmanoeuvred by Abe's Kono gambit. Park doesn't want to be there, so at this meeting she will pay lip service and double talk that is about it.

    President Obama is being naïve in thinking that South Korea is still an ally. He actually believes that President Park is still an ally. He needs to wake up.

    In the past South Korea was an ally of Japan and the US. It was also considered a good neighbor even though it kept their people in the dark about the 1965 peace treaty. But, that was the past.

    In the last 20 or so years it has been shifting closer to the left and closer to Communist China. South Korea has forgotten who it's real enemy is and who it's friends were. They even have forgotten that this reunification carrot trap was offered up before in 1972. But, back then people remembered the North Korean/Communist China invasion of their nation.

    But that was then and this is now. President Park and her supporters believe that their nation's future lies with Communist China and the carrot trap known as reunification. I for one hope that they would jump ship already and at long last leave the US-Japan alliance and stop all the horsing around.

    The South Korean will get their wish, but the wish shall turn into a nightmare. When the exodus begins I just hope Japan will have the fortitude to deny entry to Park and her cohorts.

    Park and Xi met Sunday evening on the sidelines of the nuclear meeting, Park’s spokesman told reporters.

    Tributary state paying homage to their true master.

    magicmodelolMar. 24, 2014 - 08:48AM JST What is important is that Abe now is looking to build a better relationship with the Koreans. And that's what the Koreans have been asking for. They aren't angry people by nature. They are just frustrated when we see people like the NHK director vehmentaly deny that war crimes took place. Surely you can see that, no?

    There is no appeasing the people who don't care about being friends. If South Korea really wanted peace and friendship President Park would have arranged a meeting with Abe a long time ago.

    But her goal is not a friendship with Japan. Her goal is to get money out of Japan so her nation doesn't have to pay the people the compensation is agreed to pay in 1965. If she can get Japan to help pay for this reunification carrot trap she South Korea won't go bankrupt.

    Reunification carrot trap will cost a whole lot more than 50 billion dollars and she knows it. After it is all over and the nation is reunified Emperor Kim Jong-un will have a great economy to destroy.

  • 3

    slowguy2

    @ toshiko : "Nanjing Massacre ??? Who said to Korea?????"

    You can drop the naïve act. You know very well it's all part of the same pattern of denial and demurral. The Nanjing Massacre never happened / was grossly exaggerated; the Comfort Women were volunteers, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Making denial of historical facts unlawful will apply equally to both those issues and a host of others.

  • -1

    Peter Payne

    SmithinJapan, you do know that no matter what Japan does it will never be enough for Korea, right? And you do know that Japan has made something like 44 official apologies, including many to Japan? When it normalized relations with South Korea, Japan paid $800 million (nearly $6 trillion in today’s dollars) as reparations for Koreans killed or forced into military service by Japan, asking to pay the money directly to the victims; the then-military government said no, give it to us instead, whereupon it used most of the money for economic development without passing it on to the actual victims. At the time Korea's government was a non-elected military government headed by the current president's father.

    The comfort women thing was not brought up at the time because Koreans hadn't made it into a meme (which is what it really is) yet. And because they had a booming sex tourism trade in which everyone, Japanese and Americans included, were encouraged to come to Seoul and enjoy the legal prosititution. But let's not look at actual history, only the one Koreans want to create today.

  • -2

    Peter Payne

    *many to Korea

  • 1

    slowguy2

    Koreans would be only too glad to put the bad memories behind them and move forward, but in order for that to happen, first the past must be squarely dealt with, otherwise the old wounds will never heal properly and continue to muck up Korea-Japan relations. But I've got a feeling that by "putting the enmities behind", Mr. Abe merely means that he wishes the Koreans would just shut up about Japan not facing up to its own past and allow the Japanese to go on cosplaying the part of the heroic victim.

  • 1

    kcjapan

    “It is going to be my first talk with President Park Geun-Hye and I want to make it the first step to build a future-oriented Japan-South Korea relationship,” Abe said before leaving."

    • Amen
  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    The fact is... After the ww2, there have never been an opportunity for Japan and Korea and China to make amends and deal with the war atrocities. So their resentment is perfectly understandable. What's not understandable is the right wing denials and beautification. Just suck it up and admit that Japan did some bad things, and apologize. It will be good for all the countries, and the victims. It would be the right thing to do.

  • -1

    CH3CHO

    slowguy2Mar. 24, 2014 - 10:29AM JST

    Koreans would be only too glad to put the bad memories behind

    Oh really? Then, why did President Pak said that the Korean hate against Japan for the 35 years of "colonization" will continue 1000 years or more? She got high approval rating for the comment from the Koreans.

    I also have to mention that most Koreans are so ultra nationalistic that they cannot stand the word "Sea of Japan" because of the word "Japan" in it. They cannot stand the water of "Sea of Japan" washes the shore of Korea.

    Do they understand that putting "bad memories behind" means stop hating because of history.

  • 3

    Vincehwr

    Yeah, I can see this going well..... not.

  • 2

    MGigante

    @Joeybigs, PeterPayne,

    I mostly agree.

    That being said, Abe is pretty much spot-on. Both sides need to stop with the rhetoric if these countries are going to get along. Korea needs to recognize all that Japan has done to help their society since WWII, and Japan could be a little more sensitive to historical issues.

    Done deal, move on...wish it were that simple, though.

  • 1

    farkel

    And yet he chose to visit Yasukuni--knowing that the Chinese and Koreans would object---There are many ways to honor the spirits of dead soldiers who have fallen. He may believe that the two issues are unrelated but I do not agree with him.

  • 0

    nigelboy

    And yet he chose to visit Yasukuni--knowing that the Chinese and Koreans would object---There are many ways to honor the spirits of dead soldiers who have fallen. He may believe that the two issues are unrelated but I do not agree with him.

    To the first sentence, China and Korea would come up with something new anyways to criticize Japan. Yasukuni was one of them for China in 1985 and for Korea, just this past decade. As to the second sentence, there are many ways but using common sense, shouldn't that be determined by the Japanese population especially the bereaved family members?

  • -2

    SamuraiBlue

    farkel

    If you're talking about Chidorigafuchi then forget it, it's a cheap imitation made after WW2 by the govenment only enshrining military combatants who fought WW2, Yasukuni on the otherhand enshrines all that made the ultimate sacrifice from Meji era including civilians and animals that was killed in battle and result of battle as well.

  • 1

    Thomas Anderson

    Oh guess what... the Yasukuni visit was criticized by the US.

  • -3

    nigelboy

    Oh guess what... the Yasukuni visit was criticized by the US.

    Yep. Goes to show how Obama (Obaka) continued failure in foreign diplomacy criticizing the key ally in Asia. Does he not realize that U.S. Forces visited Yasukuni as well? Poor staffing? Trying to not upset China?

  • -2

    CH3CHO

    Thomas AndersonMar. 24, 2014 - 10:56AM JST

    The fact is... After the ww2, there have never been an opportunity for Japan and Korea and China to make amends and deal with the war atrocities

    I seriously think some of the people here do nto know the history.

    Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty of 1952 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Taipei

    Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea of 1965 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_Basic_Relations_between_Japan_and_the_Republic_of_Korea

    Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China of 1972 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Communiqu%C3%A9_of_the_Government_of_Japan_and_the_Government_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

    Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China of 1978 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Peace_and_Friendship_between_Japan_and_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

    These are the opportunities for making amends for everything that happen during the war and before.

    Thomas AndersonMar. 24, 2014 - 12:37PM JST

    Oh guess what... the Yasukuni visit was criticized by the US.

    US attitude towards Yasukuni reflects how seriously it supports the freedom of religion and is a matter of principle. It seems the US is ready to discard freedom religion for the sake of temporal diplomatic convenience with China which is ready to prosecute any religion that the Party sees unfit.

  • 0

    John Occupythemoon Daly

    Abe "says." Let's see if either country is ready to put their money where they mouth is and actually do something to improve relations besides bickering over who shot first, Han or Greedo.

  • 2

    farkel

    You are missing the point I am making---1st of course any one can pay respects ---It is a matter for the Japanese people to decide--But Abe is the Prime Minister of this country---and by choosing to go there--officially, he makes a political statement. He understands this, and decided to go anyway. So from his point of view--honoring his ancestors is more important than other historical considerations. I disagree. 2nd, there are plenty of examples of prejudice in this country as well as China, Korea, America and the rest of the world, as playing soccer in empty stadiums attests too. This is my 25th year in Japan, I love this country but there is enough hatred in this world, and it seems to me when I see forums like this, that we are losing the courtesy and respect that are so basic to Japanese culture

  • 1

    Eric Lyle Carlsen Schmid

    Why must we all argue about something that will never be fixed. I say start debating over things you as guests in this country can make a difference in. Like voting rights since I do pay taxes and would like a say in how it gets spend or at least how they say it will get spent.

  • -3

    nigelboy

    You are missing the point I am making---1st of course any one can pay respects ---It is a matter for the Japanese people to decide--But Abe is the Prime Minister of this country---and by choosing to go there--officially, he makes a political statement. He understands this, and decided to go anyway. So from his point of view--honoring his ancestors is more important than other historical considerations. I disagree. 2nd, there are plenty of examples of prejudice in this country as well as China, Korea, America and the rest of the world, as playing soccer in empty stadiums attests too. This is my 25th year in Japan, I love this country but there is enough hatred in this world, and it seems to me when I see forums like this, that we are losing the courtesy and respect that are so basic to Japanese culture

    Any visit by a head of state to honor their own war dead is a political statement. Because of this, he is fully aware of the desires of the bereaved family (Nihon izoku Kai) as well as the millions of Japanese who visit Yasukuni every year. Hence, in any normal country, what others country thinks is secondary for this matter is strictly a "internal matter" which China, for instance agreed not to "meddle" via signage of the treaty.

  • -2

    Thomas Anderson

    Yep. Goes to show how Obama (Obaka) continued failure in foreign diplomacy criticizing the key ally in Asia. Does he not realize that U.S. Forces visited Yasukuni as well? Poor staffing? Trying to not upset China?

    Excuse me, Obama? Pretty much the entire American population are against the yasukuni visit on moral grounds. I bet that Obama could care less. Yet again it proves that you're clueless about American or western culture and values.

    Of course the right wingers are clueless and think that it's all the Obamas fault or something.

  • 2

    SamuraiBlue

    The American population in general could care less and most wouldn't know what Yasukuni is if you asked.

  • -3

    Thomas Anderson

    If they understood what it was and what it stood for, then they will. Many Americans liken the yasukuni to something like a "hitler temple".

    Is there ANY country that support the visit to the yasukuni shrine? Pretty much the entire countries were against the yasukuni visit.

    Yet again, it proves that if a foreigner criticizes Japan, then the foreigner is blamed for it, like say, Obama, and not Japan or the Japanese.

  • -3

    nigelboy

    If they understood what it was and what it stood for, then they will

    Care to explain why U.S. Military visited Yasukuni?

  • -3

    Thomas Anderson

    When did they visit the yasukuni shrine? That was before ww2 in the 1930s, when there was no controversy surrounding the yasukuni shrine yet.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    When did they visit the yasukuni shrine? That was before ww2 in the 1930s, when there was no controversy surrounding the yasukuni shrine yet.

    Way after.

    http://chinachips.fc2web.com/repo5/051071sub.html

  • -5

    Thomas Anderson

    According to this, the only Westerners that visited the Yasukuni shrine after the Class A war criminal enshrinement are hardcore nationalists like Jean-Marie Le Pen and right-wingers:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_surrounding_Yasukuni_Shrine#Foreign_political_visitors

    After enshrinement of Class A war criminals

    France French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen visited on August 14, 2010

    United States United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson (the 3d Marine Division's commanding general) visited on April 26, 2001.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please.

  • -4

    Thomas Anderson

    That doesn't mean anything, since they're just personal visits, as if some sort of tourism. Where are the politicians' visit that represent the country?

  • -2

    nigelboy

    That doesn't mean anything, since they're just personal visits, as if some sort of tourism. Where are the politicians' visit that represent the country?

    Nope. They are official hence the exact dates.

  • -4

    Thomas Anderson

    lol? What do dates have to do with anything? And they are not political visits. There are no politicians listed there. Care to list me any politicians?

  • -3

    nigelboy

    lol? What do dates have to do with anything? And they are not political visits. There are no politicians listed there. Care to list me any politicians?

    They are political visits if you can read them.

  • -4

    Thomas Anderson

    Yes, and they're all military visits, as labeled in purple. I'm sure that they quite like the idea of dying for your own country in a religious way.

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    Here is an interesting thesis about Korean's idea on posthumous based on Confucianism.

    http://ir.lib.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/metadb/up/kiyo/AA11472506/AjiaShakaiBunka-Kenkyu597.pdf

    Basically it states that their idea concerning death only changed after WW2 in which the government declared a government initiative that fallen soldiers in battle are heroes and not haunting vengeful spirits as taught through Confucianism.

    So naturally they would not accept Yasukuni, it's basically a difference in culture.

    Having said that I believe president Pak is awfully narrow minded bring her cultural baggage to international diplomacy and can be said to basically all Korean nationalists who argue about Yasukuni.

  • 0

    Jay Wilson

    South Korea will not be happy with anything Japan does

  • -1

    toshiko

    I posted this to other articles related to Japan and Korea but I am going to paste here.

    August 4, 1993: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yōhei Kōno said: "Undeniably, this was an act, with the involvement of the military authorities of the day, that severely injured the honor and dignity of many women. The Government of Japan would like to take this opportunity once again to extend its sincere apologies and remorse to all those, irrespective of place of origin, who suffered immeasurable pain and incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women" (Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono on the result of the study on the issue of "comfort women"),[

  • -3

    Triplex

    South Korea will not be happy with anything Japans does.

    They say the hatred to all items, related to Japan is a cornerstone of korean foreign (and domestic) policy. That is why koreans always complain here and there. Sometimes it looks out very laughable. Most countries of South East Asia, including China and Russia are OK with Sea of Japan and only koreans insist on Eastern Sea of Korea.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    Thomas AndersonMar. 24, 2014 - 12:37PM JST Oh guess what... the Yasukuni visit was criticized by the US.

  • -1

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    This is a distraction from what is really important and what promise the future holds for both cultures to work together to protect preserve and grow mutually beneficial cooperation and friendship.

  • 1

    tokyodoumo

    How can anyone leave anything behind when the other guy is keep jabbing and spitting in your face?

  • 0

    sfjp330

    As a government it is in their duties to acknowledge the wrongdoings of their forefathers and help prevent such things from occurring again. Unfortunately, the same history has countless, consistent denial by high-ranking Japanese officials denying that sadistic war time crimes ever took place. Japan has been unwavering in upholding as their national heroes, the war criminals of WWII, where their highest ranking officials pay offical hommage to. Japan is a different story of being the victim. Why did Abe visited Yasukuni shrine last year and 168 representives of Japan goverment went to pray for 14 Class A and 2 million Imperial Soldiers? Every year, and for many decades, visit by top Japanese goverment officials to Yasukuni has not changed. This is far from being apologetic, but a slap in the face of the neighboring countries with a clear expression of "I'm not that sorry." Making a statement, then following it up with actions that go directly against this statement, naturally will not be taken at face value.

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