Japan's top government spokesman said Tuesday he has doubts about U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's remarks that Japanese leaders should have a correct view of history, repeating that Tokyo is open to dialogue with Seoul and Beijing.
"It is extremely questionable whether the secretary general had knowledge of our stance when he made the comments," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular press conference. "We will inquire about what he intended to say" through the United Nations, he added.
At a press conference Monday in Seoul, Ban called for Japanese leaders to engage in reflection "to look toward the international future in an effort to foster friendly ties with a correct view of past history."
The comments by the U.N. chief prompted some Japanese government officials to express concern.
"Even though we have issues to be resolved with South Korea and China, we have stated that we need to have dialogue," Suga said, noting that Japan is a country that has aspired to contribute to peace and security since the end of World War II.
Divergent perceptions of history and territorial rows have soured Japan's ties with China and South Korea, countries that suffered Japan's wartime brutality, and eight months have passed without summit talks with the Asian neighbors since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power last December.
Abe has said historians should make a judgment on history and expressed a willingness to meet for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun Hye.