- The Washington Times - Friday, August 14, 2015

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday stopped short of an apology but acknowledged the “immeasurable damage and suffering” his nation caused during World War II.

Mr. Abe spoke on live national television during the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender, which occurred on Aug. 15, 1945.

In his statement, he expressed “profound grief” for those who died and said that while “what is done cannot be undone,” his nation “would never wage war again.”

“Incident, aggression, war — we shall never again resort to any form of the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world,” Mr. Abe said.

During World War II, Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945 in France, but Japan continued to fight. In August of 1945, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 100,000 people and causing Japan to surrender.

At the end of World War II, Japan adopted a pacifist constitution.

Recently, Mr. Abe and the parliament have begun to reinterpret the constitution to strengthen Japan’s military position as China becomes more of a growing threat in the area.

China and Japan have been disputing who has sovereignty over a string of islands in the East China Sea. In Japan, the islands are called the Senkakus, but in China, they are known as Diaoyudao. Taiwan refers to them as the Tiaoyutai Islands.

The U.S. is watching this dispute with interest because it is obligated by a treaty to defend Japan.

Mr. Abe’s statement, which mentioned that previous Japanese leaders had already apologized, was met with skepticism from China.

China’s Xinhua News (@XHNews) tweeted on Friday morning: “#BREAKING: Abe mentions previous apology, adding it’s unnecessary for future generations to keep apologizing.”

On July 16, Japan’s lower house of parliament approved legislation that would allow a larger role for the Japanese military, including contributing more to global peacekeeping efforts.

The upper chamber of parliament has within 60 days to debate the merits of the legislation and take a vote.

For the English translation of the speech, click here.

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