Written by Stephen Nordin, Research Intern
This year marks the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender at the end of the Second World War. In 1995, then-Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama made a famous speech atoning for Japan’s wartime actions, expressing remorse for ‘a mistaken national policy’ of militarism and the destruction it engendered. Known as the ‘Murayama Statement,’ it has represented Japan’s official position toward the war for nearly two decades.
However, current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe takes a different view of Japan’s wartime past. How he chooses to interpret his nation’s history will not only have immediate political implications for bilateral relations in the region, but also may hint at his broader policy agenda and how transformative his premiership will be for Japan.