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China-Japan Ties Critical, Japanese Pundit Says

It is important for Japan and China to maintain good-neighborly friendship, and for Japanese politicians, it is wise to treasure the friendly relations between the two countries, renowned Japanese political critic Minoru Morita said Monday in Beijing.

Minoru Morita made the remarks at a seminar on Sino-Japanese relations. He came to China at the invitation of the Chinese Association for International Understanding. Experts and scholars from social groups and academic institutions, as well as some government officials, attended the seminar.

Minoru Morita said that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine was a serious mistake made by the Japanese cabinet.

Such a mistake calls for Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet to at least apologize to the Chinese people and other Asian peoples who have been hurt, he said.

He said that the Prime Minister's Shrine visit has put Japan in an awkward position in its diplomatic front, especially with Asian countries. The negative effects are also emerging inside Japan as many Japanese residents held that the visit has led to serious setbacks in Japanese relations with its neighbors.

He held that to continue to develop a healthy Japan-China relationship and solve the difficulties in bilateral relations, the Japanese cabinet should be the first to change its attitude. At the same time, the Japanese side should make positive efforts in the education of modern history.

The critic said that experts from the two countries should carry out joint study of modern history and exchanges of teachers, youths and young politicians between the two countries should also be expanded.

He also analyzed the Japanese political situation and the current political thinking in Japan, and exchanged ideas with participants on Sino-Japanese relations and regional situation.

(Xinhua News Agency 08/20/2001)

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