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Japan PM Apologizes for Colonization of Korea

Posted August. 11, 2010 11:25,   


[Editor’s Note] The following is the full statement of Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan issued Tuesday.

This year marks a watershed moment for the relationship between Korea and Japan. Exactly 100 years ago in August, 36 years of Japanese colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula began with an agreement to annex Korea to Japan. As shown in the strong resistance of Koreans such as the March 1 Independence Movement, the national pride of the Korean people was deeply hurt by colonial rule that deprived them of national sovereignty and culture against their will under the political and military backdrop.

I would like to faithfully deal with history. With the courage to face up to historical facts and the humility to accept them, I would like to honestly look back on our past wrongdoings. Those who inflicted pain tend to forget that they did so while those affected tend to never forget their pain. On the enormous damage and pain colonial rule caused, I once again extend my heartfelt apology with deep remorse and regret.

With such remorse and looking at the next 100 years, we will pursue a forward-leaning relationship between Korea and Japan. In addition, we will faithfully continue humanitarian cooperation with Korea that Japan has so far implemented, such as support for Koreans in Sakhalin and repatriation of Koreans’ remains. To live up to Koreans’ expectations, we will transfer valuable Korean books, such as records of the Joseon Dynasty, that have been in the custody of the Japanese government since the colonial Japanese government took and sent them to Japan.

Through vibrant cultural and people-to-people exchanges that have continued for more than 2,000 years, Korea and Japan have deeply shared great cultures and traditions that are the envy of the world. Today, bilateral exchanges are multilayered, wide-ranging and multifaceted, and a sense of closeness and friendship between the people of the two countries are growing stronger than ever. In addition, economic and human exchanges have exponentially increased since the establishment of diplomatic ties and the bilateral bond has strengthened.

In the 21st century, Korea and Japan have become each other’s most important and closest neighbors based on the common values of democracy, freedom and market economy. Our relationship is not only for the interests of the two countries. It is also a partnership based on broad-based cooperation and leadership to bring about peace and stability in East Asia with the aim to establish an East Asian community, facilitate growth and development of the world economy, and achieve peace and prosperity of both the region and the world by responding to global issues such as prevention of nuclear proliferation, dealing with climate change, poverty reduction and peace establishment.

Taking the opportunity of such a historical moment, I strongly hope bilateral relations will be further deepened and strengthened, and at the same time, I express my firm commitment to opening a new future for the two countries.