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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006

Future more important than past: Aso to China

Staff writer

Japan hopes China will not be overly concerned about issues related to history and look at the broader bilateral relationship, Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Friday in a diplomatic policy speech.

"We, the Japanese, will seriously accept the feelings of the Chinese people" on Japan's past aggression, Aso said at the plenary session of the Diet. "At the same time, we call on the Chinese people not to be too wedded to issues of the past, to calmly take a broad view and to work together as mature friends."

Japan's relations with China and South Korea have severely worsened over Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's yearly contentious homages to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the war dead as well as Class-A war criminals.

Koizumi went for a fifth time in October since taking office in 2001.

On South Korea, Aso said Japan will sincerely deal with various issues caused by Japan's colonial rule from a humanitarian point of view, such as continuing to search for wartime remains of people forcibly brought to Japan from the Korean Peninsula in hopes to return them.

Aso maintained that the government will begin deliberations with North Korea on Pyongyang's abductions of Japanese, security and economic cooperation at the earliest date, urging the North to respond in a sincere manner on the issues.

Although Aso admitted Japan's road to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is rocky, he said the country will discuss the issue with the United States while continuing to work with Germany, India and Brazil.

Japan's alliance with the other members of the so-called Group of Four was effectively broken off when Germany, India and Brazil resubmitted a resolution on UNSC expansion without Japan's backing earlier this month.

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The Japan Times

Article 5 of 13 in National news

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