Japan has paid for mistakes, Tony Abbott tells meeting with
July 08, 2014
Jared Owens Reporter
JAPAN must be given “a fair go” to fully participate in global affairs, saying the country is “radically different” now than during the Second World War, Tony Abbott says.
The Prime Minister, speaking alongside his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe after the signing of a free-trade pact in Canberra, suggested Japan’s acceptance of the International Court of Justice’s prohibition on Antarctic whaling was evidence that Japan was “a first-class international citizen”.
Abe vows Japan won't repeat mistakes:
Mr Abe, who is reforming his country’s pacifist post-war constitution to enable a greater military activity overseas, said Japan’s national security policy had been “self-absorbed for a long time” and his nation is now “more willing to contribute to peace in the region and beyond”.
Mr Abe also offered condolences for Japanese aggression during the 1940s and pledged to “never let the horrors of the past century’s history repeat”.
Mr Abbott, asked today about Mr Abe’s constitutional reforms, said the world should “give Japan a fair go” to exercise “full participation in the family of nations”.
“Japan should be judged on its actions today, not on its actions 70-odd years ago, and Japan has been an exemplary, an exemplary international citizen in the post-war era,” Mr Abbott said.
“As Shinzo made crystal clear in the parliament today, the lessons of the past have been well and truly learned and they will never ever be forgotten; they won’t be forgotten by Australia and they certainly won’t be forgotten by Japan.
“Because Japan has been a first class international citizen, I welcome its full participation in the family of nations.”
Mr Abbott commended the Japanese government’s acceptance of the International Court of Justice’s decision this year to outlaw its controversial scientific whaling program in the Antarctic as “further confirmation, if any were needed, that Japan has been an exemplary citizen throughout the postwar period and a country that absolutely respects the rule of law in international affairs”.
Mr Abe said through an interpreter: “We will further develop our bilateral strategic partnership so our countries will be able to more deeply, more accessibly cooperate towards the goal of building peace and prosperity in the region and in the world.
Addressing his country’s strained relationship with China, exacerbated over maritime territorial disputes, Mr Abe said he had discussed Beijing’s “attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo” in the region.
Mr Abe said he was “keen to improve our relationship with China” and hoped the Chinese government would respond.
Mr Abbott maintained Australia could deepen its ties with Japan without damaging ties with China, quoting his Liberal predecessor and mentor John Howard as saying Australia does “not need to choose between our history and our geography”.
Mr Howard’s original remarks were related to Australia’s historical ties to Europe.