Go to contents

Roh Emphasized Japan’s Action Suitable for Apology

Posted May. 07, 2005 02:01,   


South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun received a personal letter by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi through the Japanese delegation visiting Cheong Wa Dae on May 6. President Roh emphasized that his government and people are not calling on Japan for another apology and remorse but rather meaningful and concrete action suitable for its apology and remorse already made in the past.

Besides the comment regarding deep remorse the prime minister made last month at a summit of Asian and African leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, the letter given to President Roh is known to include Koizumi’s intention to visit South Korea in the near future to exchange opinions with an open heart.

However, Roh’s response was not friendly. In his meeting with nine delegation of Japanese ruling coalition, including Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe, Roh said that South Korea acknowledges Koizumi’s efforts but it is not another remorse or apology that South Korean people are expecting from Japan. “We believe that Japan is attempting to justify its colonization on the Korean Peninsula as shown in a series of disputes regarding the prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine where Class-A war criminals are enshrined, the distortion on history textbooks and the sovereignty claim on the Dokdo islets.” Roh pointed out that unless those issues are resolved, the bilateral relations between the two nations would hit a snag again.

In the meantime, Takebe told Roh that in his meeting with Koizumi before his visit to South Korea that the prime minister emphasized that Japan has been honest with its past so with deep remorse Japan has remained a peaceful nation since World War II. The letter is also known to include that the Japanese prime minister has taken South Korea’s feelings carried in Roh’s speech on its March 1 Independence Day seriously.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com