Statement by Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, on the Statement of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council of the Republic of Korea
March 18, 2005
- Today, on March 17, 2005, Mr. CHUNG Dong Young, Minister of Unification and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council, announced a "Statement of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council." The Government of Japan takes seriously the ROK nationals' sentiments concerning the history expressed in the statement.
- Since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1965, our predecessors in both Japan and the ROK have made great efforts to overcome various difficulties and built up the amicable bilateral relations we enjoy today. We ourselves are responsible for endeavoring to further develop future-oriented friendly relations, building on the history of friendship. This year marks, in particular, the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the ROK and also the "Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005." Japan and the ROK need incessant efforts so that the two countries will accumulate the experience of success that they shared when they co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
- Japan is firmly determined to develop future-oriented Japan-ROK relations on the basis of conciliation by working together with the ROK government and people, based on the Murayama Statement, the Japan-ROK Joint Declaration in 1998 and the Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Joint Statement in 2003, facing the past squarely and reflecting where reflection is needed. At this important juncture of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK diplomatic relations, the Government of Japan intends to do its utmost to build mutual confidence as neighbors by advancing further exchange and mutual understanding, casting aside our former animosities.
- In building mutual confidence as neighbors, Japan needs to regard, in a spirit of humility, the facts of history that it caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of Asian nations and to approach the ROK people with deep understanding and sympathy; and recognizes the importance of helping each other as neighbors with patience and generosity.
- Japan and the ROK share extremely important common interests and challenges in wide-ranging areas. As partners to progress and advance together, both countries will have to exert efforts in resolving the North Korean issues and building an East Asian community for the peace, stability and prosperity of not only northeast Asia but also the international community as a whole.
- As for the issue of the property claim between Japan and the ROK, the Government of Japan understands that it was already resolved when they normalized diplomatic relations. It is unwise, therefore, to put into reverse two nations' history that has been formed on the basis of the resolution. Japan firmly believes in the sound judgment of the ROK in this regard. On that basis, the Government of Japan intends to provide all possible cooperation including efforts in the investigation and return of the remains of the people born in the Korean Peninsula.
- Although there has been a difference in stance between our two countries on the issue of Takeshima Island, to invite emotional confrontation between us is not beneficial for either country, and the Government of Japan considers that it is necessary to respond to the situation from a broader perspective in view of Japan-ROK relations as a whole, including the issue of fishery, while being aware of the stances of both countries which are already known.
- On the issue of the history textbooks, the Government of Japan believes that the authorization of school textbooks will be implemented in a fair and appropriate manner, based on the Courses of Study and standards of education curriculum.
- Finally, the Government of Japan hopes that the peoples of both Japan and the ROK will each exercise self-restraint when necessary, respect each other and make efforts for the development of their countries under the motto of "Together! Toward the Future, Into the World".
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