Japan apology recalls end of WWII in Pacific

 

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two today with an apology for suffering caused by Japanese military aggression.

Sixty years after Emperor Hirohito exhorted his subjects to "bear the unbearable" and accept defeat, memories of the war that killed millions in Asia dog relations between Japan and its neighbours, particularly China and North and South Korea.

Japan caused huge damage and suffering to many countries, especially the people of Asia, with its colonisation and aggression
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi

"Japan caused huge damage and suffering to many countries, especially the people of Asia, with its colonisation and aggression," Mr Koizumi said in a statement.

"Humbly accepting this fact of history, we again express our deep remorse and heartfelt apology and offer our condolences to the victims of the war at home and abroad," he said.

Mr Koizumi added that he wanted to build relations of mutual trust with Asian countries and join with them, especially China and South Korea, to maintain peace in the region.

Mr Koizumi, who faces an election on September 11th, later mourned Japan's war dead at a secular memorial service.

He was expected to stay away from the Yasukuni shrine, where convicted war criminals are honoured with Japan's 2.5 million military dead since the late 1800s.

Mr Koizumi has made annual visits to the shrine since taking office in 2001- but never on the anniversary of the war's end.