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China Regrets Japanese Shrine Visit

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said yesterday that the nation expressed "deep regret" over the visit of several senior Japanese officials and parliamentarians to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine for war dead, including top World War II criminals.

Three members of the Japanese cabinet and 58 parliament members reportedly visited the shrine yesterday.


The shrine is dedicated to Japanese who have died in wars since 1853, including a number of convicted war criminals.


It is seen by critics as a symbol of the militarist regime that led Japan into World War II.


Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of Japan's defeat at the end of World War II.


Sticking to the principle of "learning from history" is good for the development of Sino-Japanese relations and for Japan to win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community, Kong said.


The Chinese side hopes that the Japan keeps its promise that it views history correctly and questions its past invasions, Kong said.


It is also hoped that the Japanese side will not do anything that will harm the feelings of the Chinese people and the people of other countries that were victims of Japanese militarism, he added.


Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who last went to the controversial shrine on January 1, did not visit it yesterday.


Koizumi said yesterday he would make further efforts to "contribute to global peace" and "win trust from the world," suggesting the continuation of the current policy to expand Japan's role in global affairs.


The premier, who had vowed to visit the shrine every year, announced early this month that he would not go there this time. He visited the shrine on January 1 this year.


The four pilgrimages made since he took power in 2001 evoked fierce criticisms at home and abroad, especially from China and South Korea, who suffered atrocities at the hands of invading Japanese troops.


In another development, a non-governmental organization was set up on Saturday in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, to aid survivors of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese invaders in 1937.


If people wish for peace, they should not forget the history that more than 300,000 people were slaughtered after the city were taken by Japanese troops, the Nanjing Daily quoted Qin Jie, one of the survivors, as saying.


Nor should people forget those 400 people who survived the atrocity and are very elderly, he added.


Qin was elected chairman of the newly established Society for Aiding Nanjing Massacre Survivors.


Those survivors need not only economic aid, but also spiritual comfort, Qin was quoted as saying.


He said the survivors are encouraged to attend the society's meetings so that they can support each other, recall history and conduct patriotic education among young people.


At the launching ceremony on Saturday, 10 survivors received aid. One of them was Li Xiuying, who was given 5,000 yuan (US$604).


(China Daily August 16, 2004)

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