As the third subject of my Executive Committee report, I would like to touch upon three international problems regarding peace, stability and friendship in East Asia.
The first question is what is needed to settle the North Korea issue.
The DPRK launched "rockets" in April and December last year in defiance of international society's criticism and opposition. This action violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 which demands that the DPRK not conduct "any launch using ballistic missile technology." It is an unforgivable act as it increases tensions in the region.
Back in December 2011, on the occasion of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, I offered "my condolences on the death of the head of the country," and expressed my hope that the succeeding leadership will "pursue a path as a responsible member of the international community." In February last year, the DPRK agreed upon a freeze of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment activities in a talk with the United States, and we regarded it as a forward and noteworthy step.
However, after that, North Korea launched "rockets" twice, and it is reported that the state plans to conduct its third nuclear test. The U.N. Security Council on January 22 adopted Resolution 2087 which condemned the country's launch and expressed "its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK launch or nuclear test." The JCP strongly demands that North Korea comply with relevant UNSC resolutions and refrain from further provocative actions.
The North Korean leadership in a recent statement said that their most important challenge is to build a strong economy and the emphasis is laid on improvement of people's lives. However, they also stressed the importance of the military-first policy which attaches top priority on strengthening the armed forces, and prided themselves on the success of "rocket" launches in the same statement.
It is impossible to pursue both the improvement of people's living conditions and the development of nuclear weapons and missiles based on the military-first strategy. If North Korean leaders want to elevate people's standards of living seriously, they should give up nuclear weapon and missile programs, atone for its internationally illegal acts, and take a responsible role in the international community.
There exist international frameworks to handle this issue, including the 2005 Six-Party Joint Statement, the 2002 Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, and the 2000 North-South Joint Declaration. We demand that North Korea come back to these international frameworks, and return to agreements reached in the past in order to comply with them in good faith. It will not only contribute to peace and stability in Asia, but also bring security to the DPRK and serve the interests of the state.
On handling this problem, it is important for the international community to take a concerted action and devote its efforts to finding peaceful and diplomatic solutions. We call on the international community to stick to this stance, and the JCP will do everything we can to work to help resolve the problem.
Concerning the issue of the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese), I released a proposal titled, "Solve Senkaku Islands Issue through Diplomatic Negotiations," on September 20 last year. We have conveyed the JCP position to the Japanese and Chinese governments as well as tenaciously called on other countries concerned and the international society to make an effort toward finding a peaceful solution to this issue.
In the proposal, we express our view that Japan's possession of the Senkaku Islands is legitimate based on history and international law. The proposal points out that the Japanese government has failed to assert to the Chinese government the legitimacy of Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands and refute the claim by China because Japan is caught in its own trap by insisting that there is no territorial dispute. Furthermore, it stressed the need for both governments to strictly restrain themselves from taking further forceful measures, including possible military responses.
The continuing confrontation and tension between Japan and China has brought a negative influence on economic and personal exchanges between the two countries. What is of most concern and should be avoided at any cost is an unexpected serious contingency and military conflict.
The Japanese side is considering permanently stationing public workers on the Senkaku Islands as well as strengthening its military presence and military alliance with the U.S. by using the Senkaku issue as an excuse. Such moves go against calm diplomatic efforts and need to be restrained.
The Chinese government has continuously sent its patrol ships into Japanese territorial waters and had its aircraft encroach on Japanese airspace. Whatever the reason the Chinese side has, to urge another nation by forcible means to change the current conditions of the area it effectively controls is not tolerated in today's world. It is truly regrettable for China to continue threatening Japan's effective control of the area by force.
If force-to-force responses continue, it could escalate into an out-of-control situation. The only way to solve the issue is through calm and rational dialogue. The JCP strongly demands that the Japanese and Chinese governments make rational decisions based on a broad perspective in order to maintain a healthy and friendly bilateral relationship.
The JCP, based on the already released proposal, proposes a solution to the issue in accordance with the following three principles as one package:
Firstly, Japan and China should recognize the existence of the territorial dispute and make efforts to find a solution through cool-headed diplomatic negotiations.
Secondly, Japan and China should severely refrain from initiating physical and military responses which would change the current conditions.
Thirdly, Japan and China should make efforts to prevent this issue from affecting bilateral economic relations as well as personal and cultural exchanges.
The JCP is convinced that a solution through diplomatic negotiations in accord with these principles as one package is the only way to resolve the issue. The JCP expresses its determination to make every possible effort to work to help settle the dispute.
I will touch on the history issue.
Prime Minister Abe proclaimed that he will review the Murayama Statement which admits Japan's responsibility for the war of aggression and colonial rule and will replace it with an Abe Statement. He also mentioned the need for a review of the Kono Statement which acknowledges the Japanese military involvement in the "comfort women" issue. His ambition to reinterpret the past has come under increasing criticism from overseas. The New York Times ran an editorial severely criticizing the moves as "Mr. Abe's shameful impulses."
The postwar world order was established on the common understanding that Japan, Germany, and Italy had waged unjust wars of aggression. Before Prime Minister Abe assumed office, he repeatedly made remarks and exhibited behaviors justifying and glorifying Japan's past war of aggression. The JCP has sternly warned that if the Abe Cabinet entirely adopts this idea into government policy, Japan will lose its political and moral standing in Asia and the rest of the world. From the standpoint of stopping this from happening, the JCP has engaged in vigorous Diet discussions.
Abe refuses to give his opinion on comfort women problem -- Give up bringing reactionary ideas into politics
In the plenary session of the House of Representatives, the JCP aggressively questioned the prime minister about the "Yasukuni group" argument that denies the fact that many foreign women were forced to work as sex slaves, the so-called comfort women, for Japanese soldiers during the war because of the absence of written evidence. In that question, quoting a government official's testimony, we pointed out that despite the absence of such evidence, the government in the 1993 Kono Statement officially admitted, based on testimonies of the victims, that those women had been taken away against their will and used as comfort women under coercion of the Imperial Japanese military. I told Abe that his Yasukuni argument will never hold water as long as his government abides by the statement.
Unable to refute this point, Abe replied, "I want to refrain from making any comment on this issue at this time. It would be appropriate for the chief cabinet secretary to deal with this matter." Abe's response means that he refuses to disclose his view on this issue as prime minister. We strongly demand that Abe keep his word and give up bringing such a reactionary idea into Japan's politics.
At the same time, to settle once and for all the issue of comfort women by the Japanese Imperial Army, it is essential for the Japanese government to apologize and compensate for damages caused by various crimes during Japan's colonial rule. The South Korean government has repeatedly requested Japan to negotiate on the issue of former comfort women's right to claim compensation based on the 1965 Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea. The Japanese government, however, has been reluctant to respond to the request, arguing that "the issue of right to claim compensation was already settled."
Article 3, Section 1 of the Agreement states that if parties concerned have a dispute on interpretation and implementation of the Agreement, they should settle the dispute, "first of all, through diplomatic channels." The comfort women issue appeared in the bilateral political arena after the 1990s when victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery lodged accusations against the nation. Thus, Japan's argument that the issue was settled has no legal basis. The Japanese government should follow the provision of the 1965 Agreement and begin talks with South Korea in a sincere manner without delay. There is not much time left for the victims to reach a fair settlement when considering their age.
It is impossible for us to change the past, but we can face up to it. When Japan honestly looks at its past, admits mistakes in a sincere manner, and clears up the mistakes, it can then be in position to build a true friendship with the people in other Asian countries. If Japan takes this position, it can reach a settlement with other Asian nations on diplomatic issues, including territorial disputes, in a positive manner.