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Sunday, 9 September, 2001, 03:09 GMT 04:09 UK
Japan apologises to WWII victims
Makiko Tanaka and Colin Powell
Tanaka and Powell signed a joint declaration
Japan has repeated its apology to victims of its military aggression during World War II.

The Japanese Foreign Minister, Makiko Tanaka, said Japanese action had left "incurable scars on many people". But she ruled out compensation for the victims.


I reaffirm today our feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology expressed in Prime Minister Murayama's statement of 1995

Makiko Tanaka
She was speaking at a ceremony in San Francisco attended by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to mark the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan treaty that ended the war.

There were demonstrations in San Francisco demanding compensation for Japanese treatment of American soldiers taken prisoner during the war.

Six years ago the former Japanese Prime Minister, Tomiichi Murayama, apologised for Japan's military aggression against its Asian neighbours.

Incurable scars

Ms Tanaka said Japan had wrought "tremendous damage and suffering" during the war.

"Facing these facts of history in a spirit of humility, I reaffirm today our feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology expressed in Prime Minister Murayama's statement of 1995," she said.

Japan POWs
Former POWs are demanding compensation

Mr Murayama headed a coalition government from June 1994 and January 1996.

He offered an unprecedented apology to Asian countries invaded by Japan during World War II, issuing the so-called Murayama statement in August 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.

Compensation claims

Ms Tanaka insisted, however, that Japan would not accept compensation claims.

"This treaty resolved all the post-war settlement issues among the parties, including Japan and the United States," she said, according to a translation of her speech provided by the Japanese embassy in Washington.

"Japan has faithfully implemented its obligations under the treaty."

Hecklers

Mr Powell, whose speech was disrupted three times by hecklers, also ruled out compensation, saying the issue was resolved in the text of the treaty signed 50 years ago.

Protesters are incensed about an article in the peace treaty in which the allies waived all claims of reparations by their governments or citizens.

Mr Powell praised the peace treaty for creating a US-Japan partnership that accounts for 40% of world economy activity, and a strong Japan that "can pull most of the boats of Asia in its wake."

See also:

29 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan war slaves get $4.6m
29 Mar 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan overturns sex slave ruling
01 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan compensates Korean A-bomb victim
08 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sex slaves put Japan on trial
06 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
No compensation for Japan sex slaves
30 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Sex slave loses compensation bid
07 Nov 00 | UK Politics
PoWs to receive 'debt of honour'
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