Morimoto Koji, a senator of Japan's House of Councilors who is visiting Changchun, capital of Jilin Province, northeast China, has vowed to be an "ambassador of peace" in the promotion of Japan-China friendship.
"In the ancient times, a Chinese thinker made every effort to prevent war between two kingdoms," he said in an interview, "I want to follow his suit."
The senator said this is why he is visiting China on the 70th anniversary of the 'September 18 Incident', an incident created by Japanese militarists on September 18, 1931, at Liutiaohu near Shenyang, which marks the beginning of China's 14-year long bloody war against Japanese aggression.
"My childhood was overshadowed with tragedies brought by the war, including the death of my father when I was only two years old," he said.
"As I grew older, I realized more and more the importance of peace for a nation and a family," he added.
Morimoto Koji said he wanted future generations of Japanese to know all the facts about Japan's aggression on China. "We have to face up to history and uphold justice if we want peace," he said.
The faith to promote bilateral friendship has clung to him since 1968, when 24-year-old Morimoto Koji heard the proposals on the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations, put forth by the Sokagakukai, a Japanese religious body.
In 1979, Morimoto Koji visited China for the first time, with a delegation of the Sokagakukai. "I was deeply impressed by the broad-minded Chinese people," he recalled.
As a dietman, he visited China again in 1993 and 1994, and was met by Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji. This is his fourth China visit.
"I was born in Nara, at the eastern end of the 'Silk Road'," he said, "I know very well that we Japanese benefited a lot from the splendid Chinese culture and civilization."
However, Japan's aggression cost the lives of many Chinese and left an "ineffaceable scar" on the memory of those who have survived, said the senator.
"I apologize to all the Chinese who suffered from the war, particularly those in the three northeast provinces," he said, "And I would like to express my condolence to all the Chinese victims in the war."
"We should mend our way, rather than attempting to deny or confuse history," said the senator, "I sincerely hope that more people from the two sides will contribute to the great cause of Japan-China friendship."