The United States on Tuesday called on Japan to continue to work with its neighbors to resolve historical issues through dialogue after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe planned to include "remorse for war" in a new statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
"We encourage Japan to continue to work with its neighbors to resolve concerns over history in an amicable way through dialogue," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing, stressing Abe's remarks in his New Year press conference.
The apologies made by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono "marked important chapters in Japan's efforts to improve relations with its neighbors," Psaki added.
In 1995, Murayama issued a statement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, including an apology for Japan's overall wartime aggression, while in 1993 Kono, then a top government spokesman, apologized in a statement for the suffering of Asian women who were recruited against their own will as sex slaves.
On Monday, Abe said his cabinet "will uphold the general stance on history of successive prime ministers, including the Murayama statement."
Abe also said he would like to "write Japan's remorse on the war, its postwar history as a pacifist nation and how it will contribute to the Asia-Pacific region and the world," according to Japan's Kyodo News Agency.