Issues regarding History

October 1, 2005

Prime Minister Koizumi is of the firm conviction that Japan's present peace and prosperity are founded on the noble sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in the war. He visits Yasukuni Shrine to mourn and offer his respect and thanks to those who had to lay down their lives on the battlefield against their will; to reaffirm the importance of ensuring the present peace and prosperity of Japan, which those who died in the war were unable to witness; and to uphold Japan's pledge not to engage in a war. He makes the visits as an individual citizen, not in an official capacity.

It is erroneous to view that Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine are an attempt to glorify Japan's past militarism. The Prime Minister has stated clearly that the purpose of his visits to the shrine is to express respect and gratitude to the many people who lost their lives in the war, that he does not visit for the sake of the Class-A war criminals, and that Japan accepted the results of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He has acknowledged that Japan, "through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations." The Prime Minister has repeatedly declared that Japan should squarely face "these facts of history in a spirit of humility, and with feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind" and asserted Japan's "resolve to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world, prizing the relationship of trust it enjoys with the nations of the world." He recently conveyed this message to the international community in his speech at the Asian-African Summit in April 2005 and reaffirmed it in his statement on the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in August.

East Asia today is increasingly well placed to become one of the most developed regions in the world. The formation of a future East Asian community is a common goal for the countries of the region. At this historic turning point, Japan is determined to contribute constructively to the future of East Asia and, to that end, places great importance on its friendly relations with neighboring Asian countries, including China and the Republic of Korea. Japan has demonstrated this spirit through its actions over the past 60 years. The task of further strengthening its relations with neighboring countries and contributing to the peace and stability of the East Asian region is one of Japan's most important policy priorities.

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