Japan wants Sri Lanka to publicize its war report

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Japan wants Sri Lanka to publicize a report on alleged wartime abuses and implement its proposals to end bitterness from a decades-long civil war, an envoy said Wednesday.

Japanese government's representative Yasushi Akashi said during his talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa he reiterated the need to adopt measures for reconciliation between ethnic communities for a lasting peace.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has submitted its report to Rajapaksa.

The government says it will give the report to Parliament before making it public and promises to undertake investigations recommended by the commission.

The government appointed the commission last year under intense international pressure to probe possible war crimes in the final stages of the war in 2009.

A U.N. panel has said it found credible allegations of serious abuses on both sides of the war that should be investigated further.

On Wednesday, Akashi told reporters that "Japan hopes that the Sri Lankan government will make the report public in due course and takes steps to implement recommendations by the commission."

Akashi said he met Rajapaksa on Monday, where he "reiterated the importance of national reconciliation in order to arrive at a lasting peace."

During his visit, Akashi met government ministers, representatives of opposition political parties and civil society.

He said during discussions, he also emphasized the "vital need to improve the human rights situation in this country."

Japan was among the co-chairs that oversaw a Norway-brokered peace process between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, which officially collapsed in 2008. The United States, Norway and India were the other co-chairs.

Human rights groups have long accused the Sri Lankan government and the rebels of committing war crimes in the final stages of the civil war. The war ended after the government troops militarily defeated the rebels in May 2009.

A U.N. panel reported in April tens of thousands of civilians may have been killed in the final months of the fighting and ethnic Tamil activists claim government troops executed unarmed rebels who surrendered.

The government rejected any wrongdoing for more than two years before conceding civilian deaths did occur. However, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of president, told a conference last week that the military may have committed "crimes" and promised to investigate them.

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