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Japanese monk sorry for war crimes
Latest Updated by 2006-05-09 11:30:42
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Iwata Ryuzo, a monk from Japan, prays at Fengman Labour Memorial in Jilin Province yesterday to express his sorrow for the Chinese victims of atrocities committed by Japanese armies during their invasion of China. The memorial is on the site where more than 10,000 labourers killed by Japanese invaders were buried. [Newsphoto]

JILIN: A monk from Japan visited a memorial yesterday to express his sorrow for the Chinese victims of atrocities committed by invading Japanese troops from 1931 to 1945.

Iwata Ryuzo, 70, knelt and prayed for almost 2 hours at Fengman Labour Memorial in Northeast China's Jilin Province.

It is built on the site where more than 10,000 labourers killed by Japanese invaders were buried.

"I do hope the Chinese Government can write a letter to the government of Japan and tell the leaders of my country that an old Japanese man is making an apology to Chinese people for the Japanese Government's denial of the history of its invasion," Ryuzo said.

He said he hoped his act would raise awareness among young people in Japan of the atrocities and also help promote a good relationship between the two countries.

Ryuzo said he would survive only on fruit and water for his three-day stay in Jilin to show his heartfelt regret at what had happened during the Japanese invasion.

He also made an apology during a visit to China on August 15 last year the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

"As long as I live I will make an apology to China every year," said Ryuzo, who was warmly greeted when he arrived in Jilin.

"I do hope the friendship of people between China and Japan can be lifted as high as the Fuji Mountain in your country," Shi Wenmao, a local teacher, told the monk.

"I appreciate your words and what you did in China," said Shi Zhengde, president of Jilin Buddhism Association. "Please take care, and next time try to organize more Japanese people to join you in apologing to China; and see the rapid development of the country today," said Shi.

Ryuzo was a businessman but became a monk at the age of 45 after being influenced by relatives. He was raised in Tokyo, but now lives in Sri Lanka.

"Most of the people around me, even my family members, strongly oppose my act. I even received phone calls threatening to kill me if I insisted in carrying out my deed," Ryuzo said.

The next stop on his apology tour is Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

Editor: Yan

By: He Na Source: China Daily Website
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