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The New York Times, February 23, 2006, A26

Facing Up to the Past: Japan Makes Its Case

To the Editor:

Re "Japan's Offensive Foreign Minister" (editorial, Feb. 13):

Foreign Minister Taro Aso has neither justified nor denied Japan's past history of colonial rule or wartime aggression. His recent speech on Asia made this crystal-clear, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's statements on the subject on numerous occasions have reflected this notion. History classes in Japan do as well.

Nor did Mr. Aso say the emperor ought to visit Yasukuni Shrine in the present circumstances. He simply pointed out the need to consider a way that government representatives, as well as the emperor, could naturally honor the Japanese war dead without causing discomfort to neighboring countries.

Japan, by adhering to strictly defensive security policy, has never posed any threat to any other countries, including China, for the past 60 years.
Mr. Aso welcomes China as a responsible partner, and its rise as an opportunity. He simply referred to international concerns over China's consistent and nontransparent military activities and buildup. Given the regrettable incident of the trespass of a submerged nuclear submarine into Japan's territorial waters, China must strive to meet your criterion of "no recent record of threatening Japan."

Japan continues to encourage China to improve transparency in its military affairs in accordance with the Japan-United States Joint Statement issued by our countries' foreign and defense ministers in February 2005.

Hiroshi Sato
Acting Consul General of Japan
New York, Feb. 18, 2006

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Link to the article of  The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/opinion/l23japan.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print


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