TOKYO, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan has retracted its criticism of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's remarks, which it earlier claimed as lacking neutrality and an understanding of Japan's position regarding issues of its militaristic history and current strained ties with its neighbors, its top government spokesperson said Thursday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan now understands the UN chief's true sentiments following an enquiry made to the United Nations by Japan's Senior Vice Foreign Minister Masaji Matsuyama.
"The UN Secretary General's true intent has become clear," Suga told a press conference Thursday, adding that Matsuyama had met the UN chief in the Netherlands and was informed that the intended message had originally been misunderstood by Japan.
Suga said that Ban told Matsuyama that his comments were not entirely directed at Japan and were in no way biased.
Ban said that the misunderstanding on Japan's part was regrettable, as was the fact the story had become headline news, government officials here added.
Japan reacted angrily to comments made by Ban on Monday at a press conference during a trip to Seoul, which Japanese officials interpreted as blaming Japan for the current strained relations with China and South Korea.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said that he found it very regrettable that the tension among the three northeast Asian countries continues due to issues of history and other political reasons, and was apparently referring not only to Japan' s misperception of history, but also to ongoing territorial disputes between Japan and China as well as Japan and South Korea.
Officials here said that Ban also told Matsuyama that he wanted to emphasize Japan, China and South Korea resolving historical and geopolitical issues through a "strong will of leaders" and encouraged more dialogue between the nations in order to achieve a "harmonious relationship" for the good of peace and economic prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- A Defense Ministry spokesman on Thursday confirmed there is no plan for Chinese and Japanese defense ministers to meet during the second ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera had a brief conversation on Wednesday evening in Brunei at a banquet ahead of the ADMM-Plus, spokesman Yang Yujun told a monthly press conference. Full story
OSAKA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The operator of the subway system in the western Japanese commercial center of Osaka has recently accelerated its efforts to educate the local population about the need for transport network privatization ahead of controversial discussions when the next municipal assembly session convenes in September.
Since summer, the Osaka City Municipal Transportation Bureau has organized "observation meetings" and promotional activities for the first time to introduce local residents and commuters to the latest engineering technology applied in its trains as well as passenger service standards at some railway facilities. Full story
TOKYO, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japan and the United States announced that a formal agreement on the revision of the current Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines will be made in October, Japanese Defense Ministry officials said here Wednesday.
The officials, relaying information from Japan's defense chief Itsunori Onodera, who is attending a regional security meeting in Brunei, said that Onodera and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had spoken on the sidelines of the meeting and agreed to formalize the revision at a bilateral ministerial meeting slated for October in Tokyo. Full story