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Japan opposition urges PM to stay with apology

Published on Jan 9, 2013 6:04 AM
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks before the press after visiting Ise Shrine in the city of Ise, Mie prefecture in central Japan on January 4, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Japanese opposition lawmaker on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe not to alter a two-decade apology to World War II sex slaves, saying a revision would be "counterproductive."

Mr Abe, an outspoken conservative, called before taking office for a review of the landmark apology issued in 1993 by then top government spokesman Yohei Kono - a move that would outrage Asian neighbours, particularly South Korea.

On a visit to Washington, parliament member Motohiro Oono - whose Democratic Party of Japan lost power in Dec 16 elections - said that views on history should be left to academics.

"We believe that... if the government revises (the) statement of Kono on history, it is counterproductive," Mr Oono said at the Heritage Foundation think tank. "We would like to request Mr. Abe to have a cautious attitude to revising this historical issue," Mr Oono said.

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