WASHINGTON - The United States said on Monday that it was encouraging Japan's leadership to handle the historical issues in a manner that contributes to better ties with neighboring nations.
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki called apologies extended by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in 1995 over his country's wartime atrocities, and the 1993 statement made by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono apologizing to sex slaves of the Japanese military during the World War II, "an important chapter in Japan improving relations with its neighbors."
She described as "a positive step" Japan's latest pledge to uphold the Kono statement.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said Monday although the country will not revise the world-recognized "Kono Statement," it will examine how the statement was compiled, Japan's Kyodo News reported.
Suga's earlier announcement made late February of setting up a team to reexamine the 1993 statement has been denounced by South Korea as another attempt to deny Japan's wartime atrocities.
"We encourage Japan's leadership to approach this and other issues arising from the past in a manner that is conducive to building stronger relations with its neighbors," Psaki told reporters at a regular news briefing.