Oct. 02, 2014 – PM Abe: “No plan right now to replace Kono statement”

Article from Asahi Shimbun, October 02, 2014 :

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated he has no plans to issue a new statement to replace a landmark 1993 apology to former “comfort women” forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.

“I am not currently thinking about having the Abe Cabinet rewrite the Kono statement, nor am I currently thinking about issuing a new statement related to the Kono statement,” Abe said at a Lower House plenary session Oct. 1 in response to a question from Takeo Hiranuma, the head of the Party for Future Generations.

Abe’s remark is certain to be welcomed by South Korea as he seeks to hold his first formal summit with President Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing in November.

The “comfort women” issue remains a major obstacle to better relations between Japan and South Korea.

The United States has been pushing Japan and South Korea to settle their differences so the three countries can work together to maintain stability in Northeast Asia.

This very likely influenced Abe’s decision not to mess with the Kono statement.

In August, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which Abe heads, called for a new statement to be issued next year in the name of the current chief Cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

LDP officials have argued a new statement is needed to “restore the honor of those in the past who were inappropriately demeaned and to protect the pride of the Japanese living in the present and future.”

Abe has said he wanted to issue a statement under his name next year that would address a future-oriented relationship with Asia.