US urges Japan to handle wartime history in constructive way

Updated: 2015-04-22 08:48


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WASHINGTON - The United States on Tuesday reiterated a call for Japan to approach its wartime history in a way that promotes "healing and reconciliation."

"We've continued to emphasize the importance of approaching historical legacy issues in a manner that promotes healing and reconciliation for all parties," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, adding "We've been very clear about the importance of that."

Harf was responding to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's suggestion of no repeated apologies over his country's aggressions during the World War II.

Both China and the Republic of Korea, two neighbors once subjugated to Japan's brutal aggressions and atrocities, urged Abe on Tuesday to abide by previous statements issued by his predecessors over Japan's wartime past.

Abe suggested on Monday during an appearance on a TV news program that he was not concerned about whether key phrases from previous statements would be repeated in the statement he plans to issue in August to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

Terms such as "heartfelt apology" and "colonial rule and aggression" were included in the statements issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in 1995 and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in 2005 to mark the war's 50th and 60th anniversaries.

"We, of course, believe that strong and constructive relations between countries in the region promote peace and stability and are in their interests, certainly in our interest as well," Harf said.

The New York Times on Monday blamed Abe for Japan's failure to settle its wartime history, one week before he sets foot on US soil for a visit.