Japan’s Prime Minister has surprised some and shocked others by refusing to issue a fresh apology for his country’s role in the Second World War.
In a speech to mark the seventieth anniversary of the end of the conflict, Shinzo Abe expressed “profound grief” for Japan’s actions, upheld the “unshakeable” apologies made by previous governments and pledged that Tokyo would “never wage a war again.”
However, he pointed to the fact that post-war generations make up more than eighty percent of the country’s population, adding:
“We must not let our children, grandchildren and even further generations to come, who had nothing to do with that war, be predestined to apologise.”
The anniversary was also marked by countries invaded under Japanese imperial rule. In the Filipino capital Manila, so-called Comfort Women (forced into prostitution during World War II), protested outside the Japanese embassy.