Japan's Koizumi Hopes for Sincere Dialogue with China, South Korea
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Thursday he hoped to have "sincere" exchanges with China and South Korea in a bid to improve relations strained by his visit to a controversial war shrine.
"With China and South Korea, we must squarely look into history and present our national principles that value peace and reject war," Koizumi told the Diet in a policy speech marking the start of the new 72-day parliamentary session.
"We must establish future-oriented relations. I would like to hold sincere dialogue with the leaders of both countries," the prime minister said.
Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on August 13 angered China and South Korea as the monument honors 14 convicted war criminals among some 2.5 million Japanese war dead.
Japan's relations with China and South Korea were also soured by the controversy over a Japanese school history textbook that Beijing and Seoul accused of whitewashing Tokyo's wartime atrocities.
South Korea froze military contacts and re-imposed restrictions on Japanese cultural imports to show its anger at Tokyo's refusal to rewrite the book.
Koizumi's call for dialogue with Seoul comes just one day after a South Korean fishing boat sank after being chased and rammed by a Japanese maritime patrol ship close to a disputed maritime zone -- TOKYO (AFP)
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