Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help
Site Map

Tuesday, May 26, 1998 Published at 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK


UK

Emperor's 'deep pain' over WWII



Emperor Akihito of Japan has spoken of his "deep sorrow and pain" over the suffering inflicted during World War II, but did not apologise for his country's treatment of prisoners in work camps.


Emperor Akihito's speech
Addressing a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, attended by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Mother and 11 other senior Royals, the Emperor said he could "never forget" the many kinds of suffering experienced by so many.

War veterans said that Emperor Akihito had not gone far enough and demanded a "real, meaningful apology."

Earlier, in a gesture of contempt, former prisoners of war turned their backs on Emperor Akihito and whistled the wartime anthem Colonel Bogey as he rode with the Queen in a Royal carriage down The Mall.


[ image: Protesters at Westminster Abbey]
Protesters at Westminster Abbey
Later, outside nearby Westminster Abbey where the emperor laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to the dead of World War I, around 500 protesters repeated their protest, turning their backs and humming Colonel Bogey again.

Under the post-war Japanese constitution, Emperor Akihito is a non-political figurehead and, as such, cannot formally apologise for the suffering inflicted by the Japanese imperial army.

'It truly saddens me'

But in the banquet speech on Tuesday, delivered in Japanese, he came close to saying sorry.

The Emperor said: "It truly saddens me, however, that the relationship so nurtured between our two countries should have been marred by the Second World War.

"The Empress and I can never forget the many kinds of suffering so many people have undergone because of that war.

"At the thought of the scars of war that they bear, our hearts are filled with deep sorrow and pain.


The Queen's speech welcoming the Emperor
"All through our visit here, this thought will never leave our minds. We sincerely hope that such a history will never be repeated between our two nations."

Issue will haunt Japan

"At the same time, may we express our profound respect and gratitude to those people who, despite such past sufferings, looking towards the future, have dedicated immeasurable efforts to the cause of friendship between our two countries."

But Martyn Day, solicitor for the veterans said the Emperor's remarks did not go far enough to stop the demonstrations and warned that the issue could still haunt the Japanese for many years to come.

Speaking before the speech, Mr Day conceded Emperor Akihito's expected remarks did take the situation a bit further.

"But I must say, I don't think it does anything like enough to stop the demonstrations.

"I think that unless the Japanese take the bull by the horns and say, right we're going to resolve this by a real meaningful apology and compensation, they will be haunted by it for many years to come."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England
Relevant Stories

27 May 98 | UK
Emperor faces further hostility in Cardiff

27 May 98 | Despatches
The view from Japan

26 May 98 | UK
Colonel Bogey one over par

26 May 98 | UK
The full text of Emperor Akihito's speech

26 May 98 | UK
Prison camp veterans snub Emperor

26 May 98 | UK
Letter to Akihito explains snub





In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online