Chancellor Merkel has encouraged Japan to mend post-war ties with its Asian neighbors by saying Germany had “squarely” dealt with its Nazi past. Merkel is visiting Japan ahead of her hosting June’s G7 summit in Bavaria.
Angela Merkel was received in Tokyo by Emperor Akihito (pictured above) and then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday after addressing the two countries’ World War Two militarism during a speech organized by the liberal-leaning Asahi newspaper.
Merkel’s welcome by Abe was shifted indoors because of rain.
Her remarks precede a statement on Japan’s defeat 70 years ago due later this year from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Abe’s words are likely to be scrutinized by China and South Korea which in the past have cast doubt on the sincerity of Japanese atonement. Nationalists in Japan claim Tokyo has apologized enough.
Merkel told her Tokyo audience that Germany’s neighbors in Europe, especially France, had offered essential gestures of “rapprochement” after 1945.
“This was possible first because Germany did face its past squarely, but also because the Allied Powers who controlled Germany after the Second World War would attach great importance to Germany coming to grips with its past,” she said.
“Germany was lucky to be accepted in the community of nations after the horrible experience that the world had to meet with Germany during the period of National Socialism (Nazism) and the Holocaust,” she added.dw.de