Japan PM’s condolences for WW2 dead

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Prime minister Shinzo Abe has offered solemn condolences for the Americans who died in the Second World War as he became the first Japanese leader to address a joint meeting of Congress.

“My dear friends, on behalf of Japan and the Japanese people, I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during the Second World War,” Mr Abe said.

But as he did at a news conference yesterday with US president Barack Obama, Mr Abe stopped short of offering an apology for Japanese conduct during the war, including sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Asian women by Japan’s imperial army.

South Korea and a number of US politicians have sought such an apology, but Mr Abe did not offer one, even while acknowledging that Japan’s “actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries”.

He described visiting the Second World War memorial on the National Mall, and reflecting upon the 400,000 American war dead “with deep repentance in my heart”.

“What is done cannot be undone,” Mr Abe said.

But he hailed the alliance that rose from the ashes of that terrible conflict 70 years ago as one that will “enhance the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region”.

He also sought support for a 12-nation trans-Pacific trade pact that has divided Congress, telling politicians it should be completed “for the sake of our children and our children’s children”.

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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