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Neighboring Countries` Concerns Over Japan`s Wartime Contingency Bill

Neighboring Countries` Concerns Over Japan`s Wartime Contingency Bill

Posted June. 09, 2003 21:31,   


President Roh Moo-hyun Monday said, “Japan has the imperialistic past which inflicted tremendous pains to Asian neighboring countries including Korea. Now, many Asian countries are concerned about Japan`s move to revise security related laws and the peace constitution.”

The president delivered a speech to Japan`s Lower House with 700 lawmakers of its upper and lower houses attending in the morning. He pointed out in the speech, “Neighboring countries` concerns and suspicions over Japan`s move aren`t something groundless and aren`t caused only by their failure to stay away from the past. Their concerns towards Japan`s recent move should be interpreted that Japan has yet to address pressing issues related to its imperialistic past.”

He continued, “It is true that Japan`s neighboring countries including Korea showed sensitive reactions to Japan`s moves which reminded them of their unhappy past. If the leaders of South Korea and Japan fail to achieve full reconciliation and cooperation between the two nations until Seoul and Tokyo celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in two years, they will go down in history with dishonorable legacies.”

The South Korean president said, urging active involvement of the Japanese political circle in liquidating its wartime past, “I would like to ask lawmakers and leaders of Japanese society to show your courageous leadership. We should face the past as it was and at the same time we should make efforts to persuade our people to understand and judge others based on a candid self-reflection. True courage for a national leader is to tell the truth to his people.”

In addition, he proposed Seoul and Tokyo work together to open a new era for Northeast Asia in the 21st century and that the future of relations between the two Asian neighbors hinges upon their shared visions and common purposes. He also reiterated his position on no tolerance towards North Korea`s possession of nuclear weapons, South Koreans` visa-free entry to Japan, additional Korean market opening to Japanese pop culture products, bilateral free trade agreement, and granting Korean residents in Japan voting rights in local elections.

President Roh Moo-hyun returned to Seoul Monday afternoon after wrapping up a four-day state visit to Japan, which he called a success in efforts to peacefully solve the North Korean nuclear crisis and establish future-oriented bilateral relations.

"With the success of the (South Korea-Japan) summit following the South Korea-U.S. and Japan-U.S. summits, the trilateral consultative system for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem has further solidified," Roh said in his arrival statement.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com