World media join Merkel in urging Japan to squarely face history

Updated: 2015-03-12 11:23


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Germany's N24 television news channel on Tuesday spoke highly of Merkel's remarks, saying she pointed out the way for Japan by showing them "the German approach."

Germany's public broadcasting radio station Deutschlandfunk said Merkel's comments are of great significance as they can be viewed as "an important signal."

Japanese media and public on Tuesday also urged Abe to face up to history, citing Merkel's words that "facing World War II crimes is key to reconciliation."

"It's a surprise that Merkel, who is always cautious in speech, mentioned history problem directly when visiting Japan," the Asahi Shimbun, which sponsored Merkel's speech, reported Tuesday.

"Merkel cited late German President Richard Von Weizsaecker's famous 1985 speech in which he called the end of WWII in Europe a 'day of liberation', showing clearly that confronting history squarely was the precondition for Germany to be accepted by the international community," head of Japan's Seigakuin University Kang Sang-jung said.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Merkel's remarks revealed her dissatisfaction with Japan's attitude toward solving relations with neighboring countries. "She hopes Japan's relations with its close neighboring countries will not be worse."

Masaru Kaneko, a professor of Japan's Keio University, criticized Japan's non-action in taking wartime responsibility. "Moreover, the government (of Abe) is trying to rebuild the militarism system. It's truly a setback."

Hailing Merkel's remarks in Japan, China's mainstream newspaper Global Times on Tuesday commented in an editorial that Germany regained its national dignity by facing up to its wartime atrocities, but Japan's global reputation is being eroded because of its refusal to follow Germany's example.

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