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September 21, 2017

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Abe hails 'lessons of history' on Anne Frank visit

AMSTERDAM -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam on Sunday, hailing the lessons of history ahead of his first meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

"We would like to face historical facts in a humble manner and we would like also to pass on the lessons and facts of history to the next generation," Abe said during the visit to the Jewish girl's former hideout.

"By doing so I wish to encourage peace in the entire international community," he told journalists while standing in front of photographs of Anne Frank.

Abe is in the Netherlands for a Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) and a Group of Seven meeting on the crisis in Ukraine, as well as a much-anticipated mini-summit with South Korea's Park, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama after the NSS.

Relations with South Korea are at their lowest ebb in years, mired in emotive issues linked to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule and a territorial dispute, as well as Japan's use of "comfort women" in wartime brothels.

The three-way meeting — designed to discuss North Korean threats — is considered a diplomatic breakthrough, as Abe and Park have never held a formal summit.

In Amsterdam, Abe noted the "deep connection" between Japan and the Anne Frank diary, and the fact that many Japanese visit the museum.

"When we look back at the 20th century it is fair to say that it was the century characterized by the violation of basic human rights," Abe said.

"And looking ahead to the many years of the 21st century I would like to ensure that we will never see the same things happening, and I share the responsibility of realizing this goal."

Abe's visit to the Anne Frank house came after a man was arrested recently for vandalizing copies of her diary in Tokyo libraries, although officials said the visit was not directly connected.

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