Japan foreign minister apologizes to war victims

 

Japanese Foreign Minister Ms Makiko Tanaka has apologized to victims of Japan's wartime oppression, expressing "deep remorse" for Tokyo's actions a half-century ago, but ruling out financial compensation.

In comments made during celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of a landmark US-Japan peace treaty, Ms Tanaka acknowledged that Japan wrought "tremendous damage and suffering" during the war, leaving "incurable scars on many people."

Ms Tanaka echoed the unprecedented apology made in August 1995 by then-prime minister Mr Tomiichi Murayama to Asian countries invaded by Japan during World War II.

"Facing these facts of history in a spirit of humility, I reaffirm today our feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology expressed in Prime Minister Murayama's statement of 1995," she said.

But Ms Tanaka reiterated her position made in earlier appearances during this visit, that Japan would accept no World War II compensation claims.

"This treaty resolved all the post-war settlement issues among the parties, including Japan and the United States," she said. "Japan has faithfully implemented its obligations under the treaty."

The ceremony to commemorate the 1951 treaty was attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and other dignitaries at San Francisco's Opera House - the site of the original signing.

AFP