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Japan, South Korea blame each other on WWII anniversary

(Xinhua)

09:38, August 16, 2012

TOKYO, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday denounced South Korean President Lee Myung Bak for his recent remarks, including a demand that Japan's Emperor Akihito apologize for the country's past colonial rule of the Korean Peninsular.

"I don't understand why he made such remarks. It's regrettable, " Noda told local reporters.

The South Korean president's remarks came a day before Liberation Day, when South Korea marked independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule, which was brought to an end with Japan's surrender at the end of World War II.

"If Japan's Emperor wishes to visit South Korea, I think it would be good if he apologizes sincerely to those who passed away while fighting for independence," Lee was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

It was the first time Lee had requested an apology from Emperor Akihito who he invited to visit South Korea during a trip to Japan in April 2008.

The Japanese Emperor has never visited South Korea due to residual ill-feeling over Japan's militaristic past and colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsular.

Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said that Tokyo had officially protested Lee's remarks through proper diplomatic channels and cautioned Seoul that such remarks would only serve to intensify South Korean nationalism, which would not benefit either side.

"I personally think it would not serve South Korea well for Lee to make remarks that could fan nationalism over a difficult problem requiring calm responses," Gemba told local reporters.
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