N. Korea demands Japan recognize wartime past


TOKYO, AFP

North Korea on Saturday attacked what it calls Japan’s complete denial of its wartime aggression, joining the latest chorus from Asian neighbors calling on Tokyo to recognize its past.

“Not content with distorting and beautifying its history of militarist aggression, (Japan) has gone the length of totally denying it,” said the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), citing a newspaper commentary.

“Japan’s redress for its past crimes is the only way out for it to save itself from moral destruction,” said the Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece.

The latest attack came on top of KCNA’s statement Friday, grilling Tokyo’s reported attempts to pass a history textbook in its screening which terms the 1910 Japanese annexation of Korea as “legally executed.”

The junior high-school textbook was presented by scholars, who had also advocated the dropping of a reference of “comfort women,” or forced sex slaves under the Japanese Imperial Army, from Japanese textbooks.

“Japan seeks to justify all these crimes and teach a twisted history to the young,” the KCNA’s Friday report said.

“If Japan embarks upon the revival of militarism while justifying its past crimes … it will meet strong protests from the Korean and other Asian people and will not be able to escape from a disgraceful and miserable end.”

The fierce protests followed Thursday’s denouncement by Taiwan lawmakers of a Japanese cartoonist Yoshinori Kobayashi, who alleged in a book that Taiwan’s “comfort women” were volunteers during World War II.

The Mandarin version of Kobayashi’s cartoon book entitled “Taiwan Discourse” was released in Taiwan earlier this month.

And on Tuesday, mainland China blasted as “ridiculous” comments by a Japanese lawmaker who argued Japan’s wartime aggression had helped Asian nations become independent.

The remarks by mainland Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao came three days after a speech by Hosei Norota, a lawmaker from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and former defense chief, evoking Japan’s militarist past.

“As we fought the war, (the Western nations’) colonialist policies fundamentally died out in Asia,” Norota said.

“As I visit Southeast Asian countries, many people say even today it was thanks to Japan their nations were able to become independent,” he said.