Japan’s new emperor echoes father, expresses deep remorse over war

Naruhito inherited the throne in May, after his father was abdicated. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 August 2019

Japan’s new emperor echoes father, expresses deep remorse over war

  • Naruhito is the first monarch who was born after war
  • He is the grandson of the emperor in whose name Japan fought during WWII

TOKYO: Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, expressed deep remorse over the country’s wartime past and prayed for global peace on Thursday, echoing his father’s words in remarks at an annual ceremony marking Tokyo’s surrender in World War Two.
Naruhito, 59, became Japan’s first monarch born after the war when he inherited the throne in May. His father, Akihito, stepped down in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries.
“Looking back on the long period of post-war peace, reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” he said.
“Together with all of our people, I pay my heartfelt tribute to all those who lost their lives in the war ... and pray for world peace and the further development of our country,” Naruhito said, echoing his father’s message a year ago.
Naruhito is a grandson of Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two.


US opens first round of resurrected peace talks with Taliban

Updated 07 December 2019

US opens first round of resurrected peace talks with Taliban

  • The talks will initially focus on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence
  • Permanent cease-fire would be the eventual goal, said a US statement

KABUL: US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held on Saturday the first official talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban since President Donald Trump declared a near-certain peace deal with the insurgents dead in September.
The talks will initially focus on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence, with a permanent cease-fire being the eventual goal, said a US statement. Khalilzad is also trying to lay the groundwork for negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the protracted conflict.
The meetings being held in the Middle eastern State of Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, follow several days of talks in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, where Khalilzad met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The Taliban have so far refused direct talks with Ghani calling him a US puppet.
Ghani leads the Afghan government with Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in a power-sharing agreement brokered by the United States after the presidential elections in 2014 were so deeply mired in corruption that a clear winner could not be determined.
To head off a conflict Washington stepped in and forced the two leading candidates __ Ghani and Abdullah __ to share power in a so-called Unity Government that has been largely paralyzed because of the relentless bickering between the two leaders.
The Afghan government is now embroiled in a fresh elections standoff. Presidential polls on Sept. 28 again ended in accusations of misconduct and corruption, with no results yet announced.
Repeat leading contender Abdullah has challenged the recounting of several hundred thousand ballots, accusing his opponent Ghani of trying to manipulate the tally.
Meanwhile, Khalilzad’s return to his peace mission followed Trump’s surprise Thanksgiving Day visit to Afghanistan in which he said talks with the Taliban were back on.
While Khalilzad is talking to the Taliban about reducing violence, the US military in its daily report said overnight on Saturday US airstrikes killed 37 Taliban and operations by the Afghan National Security Forces killed another 22 of the militants.
The insurgents have continued to carry put near daily strikes against military outposts throughout the country. They now hold sway over nearly half of Afghanistan.
Trump has expressed frustration with America’s longest war repeatedly saying he wants to bring the estimated 12,000 US soldiers home and calling on Afghanistan’s own police and military to step up. The Afghan government has also been criticized for its relentless corruption.