Japan must repeatedly say sorry to China, Korea and the other countries it invaded in the 20th century until its former victims have heard enough, says novelist Haruki Murakami.
According to AFP, in an interview earlier this month with Kyodo News he said “the issue of historical understanding carries great significance, and I believe it is important that Japan makes straightforward apologies.”
“I think that is all Japan can do – apologize until the countries say: ‘We don’t necessarily get over it completely, but you have apologized enough. Alright, let’s leave it now’,” he said.
The novelist’s remarks come as the region prepares for a statement from Shinzo Abe, Japan’s conservative Prime Minister, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII this summer.
In particular, observers will want to know whether Abe will mention Japan’s “colonial rule and aggression” and express an “apology” as previous leaders have done to mark the 50th and 60th anniversaries.
Murakami, who has been tipped several times as a future Nobel laureate, remarked without referring directly to Abe that “apologizing is nothing to feel embarrassed about.”
Despite his conciliatory attitude, resentment between China and Japan has been running high for the past few years, with the majority of Chinese citizens expecting a war with Japan as early as 2020.
By Dominic Jackson