German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a visit to Japan, urged the country to address its wartime past and reiterated the importance of reconciliation with neighboring countries.

The move comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces mounting pressure from the international community for a wartime apology.
Kim Ji-yeon reports on the growing momentum. 
During the second day of her two-day visit to Japan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly advised Japan to properly address the issue of the forced sexual enslavement of Asian women during World War Two.
Japan-based Kyodo News reports that Merkel emphasized the importance of reconciliation between Japan and Korea during her meeting with the leader of Japan′s opposition Democratic Party, Katsuya Okada.
Merkel added that it′s important to face the problems of the past… in response to Okada′s concerns about a lack of reconciliation with Japan′s neighboring countries, mainly Korea and China.
A day before, she had urged Japan to face its wartime atrocities,… referring to Germany′s reconciliatory efforts after World War Two.
Merkel′s latest remarks have been seen as a call for change in the lukewarm attitude currently taken by the administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toward acknowledging Japan′s wartime atrocities.
And she′s not the only one pressuring Japan to offer an apology.
Korea′s foreign ministry spokesperson Noh Kwang-il said on Tuesday that the country expects Japan to build trust with its neighbors by making courageous efforts to face up to its history just as Germany did after World War Two.
Also, U.S. Representative Mike Honda has said that Abe should not be allowed to appear before the U.S. Congress without repenting for the country′s wartime history.
In February, Abe had conveyed his wish to address Congress.
If he does, he will become the first Japanese prime minister to do so.

Prime Minister Abe is set to issue a statement in August to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan′s surrender in World War Two,… but there′s speculation that he′ll try to water down Japan′s wartime atrocities.

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