Beijing has criticized Tokyo’s response as “ludicrous” after a Japanese Cabinet spokesman publicly denounced Chinese events to mark the fight against the Japanese invasion more than 70 years ago.
A range of commemorative events were held around China on July 7 to mark the 78th anniversary of the start of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).
On July 7, Japanese chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that China is underpinning the events by “making the history issue an international one”.
Suga said China’s events are not facilitating “regional peace and stability”, Japan’s Jiji news agency reported.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the events won’t be disagreed by “people who approach history with honesty and frankness, and dedicate themselves to peaceful development.”
“Are Japan’s repeated actions even facilitating regional peace and stability as it dodges the history issue and even downplays and beautifies the history of aggression?” Hua asked at a news conference on July 8 in Beijing.
China urged Japan to “face responsibility squarely and repent its history” with honesty in order to convince Asian neighbors and the international community, Hua said.
Li Wei, director of the Institute of Japan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned that there is a popular belief within Japan that “the number of apologies over the wartime past should be limited” and “are our apologies not enough?”
Li highlighted the German approach. It has officially apologized on a number of occasions over the past 70 years, and this represents “a totally different way of thinking”, Li said, adding “it will take quite a long time to help China and Japan regain mutual trust”.
Cheng Yonghua, China’s ambassador to Japan, said on July 5 in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture that “there are still some forces within Japan who are unwilling to acknowledge responsibility for the aggression, or sincerely repent on the past”.
Xinhua contributed to this story.