Author of Japan's 1995 apology opposes change

Ex-PM Murayama says Japan must keep his 1995 landmark apology as global pledge

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's former prime minister says the landmark 1995 war apology carrying his name is an international pledge that Japan must not change.

Tomiichi Murayama said Tuesday that Japan should also keep another apology for forced prostitution before and during World War II, urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stand by both statements amid speculation that he and other conservative lawmakers want to revise them.

Abe wants to issue a fresh statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year. He has angered China and South Korea over his remark that there is no clear definition of aggression, though he later promised to stand by the 1995 apology.

Abe's visit to Tokyo's war shrine in December has escalated tension with Japan's neighbors.