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Japan to uphold key postwar apology: PM

Tokyo : Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday said that his government will uphold a key postwar apology, previously issued by the country following South Korea providing a solution to a protracted wartime labour row.

Kishida said Japan will stand by an apology that was issued by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in a statement in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement has been mentioned by successive Japanese cabinets as the government’s basic stance, although the terminology, particularly with reference to the word “remorse”, has not always remained the same, which has drawn the ire of Japan’s neighbours who were victims of its wartime aggression.

“We have taken over the position articulated by the previous cabinets on the view of history and will continue to do so,” Kishida said at a parliamentary session, the same day the South Korean side provided a solution to resolve a longstanding wartime labour issue that had adversely affected bilateral ties.

Local media reported that Seoul’s plan revolves around the formation of a government-backed South Korean foundation that will be responsible for compensating Korean plaintiffs, rather than the two Japanese firms that had been ordered by rulings by South Korean courts to pay damages.

According to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, some plaintiffs affected by the wartime labour forced upon them by their Japanese aggressors said they would refuse to accept the compensation from the South Korean fund.

They said they believe an apology from Japan and damages paid by the Japanese firms involved are the only way to settle the matter.

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