Japan PM Shinzo Abe vows to work against 'war culture'

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged today to eliminate "war culture" from the world as he highlighted Tokyo's aid in crises from the Middle East to Ukraine.

AFP| Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 02:36 AM IST

United Nations: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Thursday to eliminate "war culture" from the world as he highlighted Tokyo's aid in crises from the Middle East to Ukraine.

Abe who has frequently faced anger in neighboring countries that accuse him of historical revisionism used a speech before the UN General Assembly to highlight Japan's peaceful nature since World War II.

Japan has pursued a "postwar path abhorring the atrocities of war that brought tragedy to innocent people both at home and in other nations renewing its pledge towards peace," Abe said.

"I wish to state and pledge... That Japan is a nation that has worked to eliminate the war culture from people's hearts and will spare no efforts to continue doing so," he added.

Abe pointed to Japan's foreign assistance including USD 50 million it has committed to support humanitarian efforts in the Middle East, where Islamic State jihadists' rampage through Iraq and Syria has worsened a refugee crisis.

"What is important now is preventing extremism from taking root while also responding swiftly to the region's humanitarian crises," Abe said.

He also said that Japan was making good on its promise of USD 1.5 billion for Ukraine as part of international efforts to stabilize the Western-leaning nation amid its conflict with Russia.

Abe said that Japan also planned to extend another USD 40 million to support the fight against the Ebola virus in Africa, after an earlier USD 5 million and a contribution of protective gear for 500,000 health workers.

Abe reiterated Japan's longstanding call to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, saying that the powerful body should be reformed to "reflect the realities of the 21st century."

China, the only Asian nation among the five veto-wielding nations, has opposed Japan's permanent membership on the Security Council whose set-up reflects power realities at the end of World War II.

Abe, whose grandfather was a wartime cabinet member, has throughout his career been close to conservative historians who question the extent of Japan's war responsibility.