A member of the European Parliament on Wednesday called on Japan and other East Asian nations to take steps toward reconciling their historical grievances to build a regional community like the European Union, saying they already have the potential to form such an entity.
Sandra Kalniete, vice-chair of the European People's Party, the largest group in the European Parliament, said in an interview with Kyodo News, "I think that the example of the reconciliation of European nations could be a great lesson in how to proceed (in East Asia)."
"Already, trade relationships are highly developed between the member states of the (East Asian) region, and people-to-people contacts are ever-increasing, and that is a good basis (for reconciliation)," said the parliamentarian, who formerly served as Latvian foreign minister.
Kalniete heads the Reconciliation of European Histories group, a nonpartisan body in the parliament to recognize atrocities committed in Eastern Europe and the Baltic nations in the Soviet era.
"No one ever can undo the injustices committed towards individuals, but one of the tasks of politicians is to bring us as close as possible to reconciliation," Kalniete said.
On Monday, she met with Minoru Kiuchi, senior vice foreign minister, and told him EU policymakers hope to get to the final phase of negotiations on a Japan-EU free trade agreement during this year, or the first half of next year at the latest.