Kan’s Apology to South Korea Did Not Come without Hiccups

The public apology given to South Korea by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan for Japans former colonial rule came off as an easy task.  However, behind the scenes it took a great deal of work to make the apology happen.

As the political connection between the two countries continues to dwindle, South Korea did not even have an opportunity to discuss the wording of the statement until a few hours before it was given.  The apology came as the anniversary of South Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule neared. 

Japan ruled South Korea from 1910-1945 until Korea liberated itself.  Kan offered his “heartfelt apology” for the Japanese colonial ruling of the country last Tuesday, just days before August 15 when Koreans celebrate their liberation from Japan.

The statement was a Japanese admission of imposing colonial rule over Korea against the people’s will, even though the country had entered into a treaty on August 29, 1910 agreeing to Japanese rule.  The full text of the speech was not delivered to South Korean officials until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.  The apology was given at 10 a.m. the same day.

The delay in the communications was partly blamed on the political implications within Japan that the apology was expected to have.  The conservative party in Japan is opposed to the numerous apologies the Japanese Democratic Party has continually given for actions in the past since it rose to power. 

Some South Korean citizens have been calling for reparations from Japan to individual families and victims of the war and rule between the two countries years ago.  South Korean officials suggested the apology earlier in the year so that the countries leadership could squelch some of the calls for compensation from Japan.


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