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Beijing: Tokyo must back words with actions
Latest Updated by 2005-08-16 09:35:07

China yesterday (Aug 15) urged Tokyo to fully match its words of remorse over Japan's aggressive history with concrete actions.

Veterans of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression chat with explorer Wang Longxiang yesterday in Shanghai's Putuo District. Wang spent the past four months tracing historical sites of the war. Riding a motorcycle, Wang travelled through 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country and interviewed 500 veterans. [newsphoto]

"We've noted Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's statement," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.

Taking a serious and responsible attitude towards its militaristic aggressive history serves Japan's long-term and fundamental interests, he added.

Koizumi issued a statement yesterday on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, apologizing to the victims of Japan's past aggression.

However, two Japanese cabinet ministers and a group of lawmakers yesterday undermined Koizumi's apology by visiting Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, which honours 14 Class-A war criminals.

Kong said the shrine visits on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the end of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World War II showed the politicians involved had seriously misjudged a key issue.

As a country which was targeted by the Japanese military, China strongly requests the Japanese Government consider its history and stop doing things to hurt the feelings of people affected by Japan's previous military aggression, Kong added.

The spokesman said Japan's correct view of its militaristic past is a prerequisite for the country to gain trust from its Asian neighbours and the international community.

"It is also the political foundation of improving Sino-Japanese ties," he said.

The Koizumi statement, which the Japanese cabinet adopted earlier in the day, was the first of its kind issued by a prime minister on the anniversary since 1995, when then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized for Japan's past wrongdoings for the first time as premier.

"Our country has caused tremendous damage and pain to the peoples of many countries, especially Asian countries, through colonial rule and invasion. Humbly acknowledging such facts of history, I once again reflect most deeply and offer apologies from my heart as well as express my condolences to all the victims of the last major war both in and out of the country," Koizumi said.

Japanese Emperor Akihito yesterday also expressed hopes that Japan will never again wage war.

"Looking back on history, I ardently hope that the horrors of war will never be repeated," the emperor said at a memorial service.

On the same day, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura underscored the importance of Japan and its Asian neighbours establishing better ties.

Relations between China and Japan have soured recently, mainly because of Tokyo's efforts to whitewash wartime history.

Japan's education ministry's approval of a nationalist-written history textbook that plays down Japan's aggressive past, and Koizumi's annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, have sparked strong protests from Asian countries including China and the Republic of Korea.

Prayers, exhibitions and parades mark anniversary

People across China yesterday mourned victims of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and expressed their wishes for long-lasting peace.

About 3,000 Buddhist monks and masters from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao attended a service at the Lingguang Temple in suburban Beijing.

Led by Yi Cheng, president of the China Buddhist Association, the ceremony included prayers for permanent world peace.

"We must take history as a mirror and face the future to promote peaceful co-existence between different countries," said Sheng Hui, vice-president of the association.

On August 15, 1945, Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced his country's surrender to the allied powers, marking the end of World War II.

Yesterday, more than 120 military attachs from 35 foreign embassies in Beijing also expressed the wish that all countries learn from history and cherish peace.

They made a group visit to a commemorative exhibition near the Marco Polo Bridge, marking the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Chinese War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World War II.

There are more than 600 pictures, 800 relics, and reconstructed scenes on display.

"It's very moving, and I can see the bravery of the Chinese soldiers through the show," said Leroy Coleman, US air attach.

"Yet no museum or exhibition can fully depict what the Chinese people suffered during the war," he added.

Choe Myong-hun, deputy military attach for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said people of the Korean Peninsula share the Chinese people's feelings because "we fought side by side against a common enemy."

In Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, an exhibition of historical documents and records held by Nanjing Museum opened to the public yesterday morning. It will run until September 15.

Exhibits include more than 300 historical documents and 400 pictures, depicting Chinese people's courageous deeds during the eight-year war.

Exhibits also showcase atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers during their occupation of Nanjing.

At least 300,000 people, most of them civilians, were killed by Japanese troops in the notorious Nanjing Massacre, which started on December 13, 1937 and lasted for a month.

In Hong Kong, a number of parades were held yesterday to mark the anniversary of the end of the war.

Hundreds of people from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) marched to the Consulate-General of Japan yesterday morning, urging the country to learn from history.

Pang Cheung-Wai, a member of the central standing committee of the DAB, said that 60 years after the war, Japan still adopts history books that glosses over its aggression, and its top politicians still pay homage at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where 14 Class-A war criminals are honoured.

The two organizations strongly requested the Japanese Government apologize and compensate victims of the invasion.

The Hong Kong Reparation Association and some other organizations also marched to the consulate-general later in the day.

Editor: Yan

By:Hu Xiao Source:China Daily Website
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