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Chinese Mourn Death of Nanjing Massacre Diary Author
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Many Chinese on Wednesday mourned the death of Japanese veteran Shiro Azuma, saying that it was a loss for those who safeguard friendly ties between the two nations.  


Azuma died of cancer at the age of 93 in Kyoto on Tuesday.


He served in the Japanese army during the notorious Nanjing Massacre in 1937, and 50 years later he published his wartime diary to reveal the atrocities committed by Japanese troops in the holocaust.  


Invading Japanese troops occupied Nanjing on December 13, 1937 and launched a six-week massacre. Historical records show that more than 300,000 Chinese people, not only disarmed soldiers but also civilians, were slaughtered.  


After the war, Azuma lamented his actions in the war and made public the truth of Nanjing Massacre at various rallies in his country.  


He also offered sincere apology and showed deep remorse in a special trip to Nanjing in 1987.  


However, Azuma had suffered abuse and threats from right-wing Japanese groups since his diary was published.  


Accused by right-wing politicians of lying, Azuma was brought to court in 1993 and lost. In 2000, the Japanese Supreme Court denied Azuma's appeal, in which he sought to acknowledge the history of the invasion of China.  


"The death of Azuma is a loss for those Japanese people who dare to acknowledge the truth of history and a loss for all righteous people who are safeguarding the friendly ties between China and Japan," said Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders.  


"He who respects history will be respected by history," Zhu said.  


Jiang Fugen, 77, a survivor of the Nanjing Massacre, told Xinhua that he had thought in the past that Azuma was just playing a "show" by coming to Nanjing and offering apologies.


"But he came here one time after another against all difficulties to show his remorse and stuck to fighting the Japanese right-wingers in court. I was deeply touched by his spirit and forgave him from the bottom of my heart," he said.  


After the war, Azuma had visited Nanjing in 1987, 1994, 1997 and 1998 to speak about the Nanjing Massacre and show his remorse for war atrocities.


His diary was also published in Chinese.  


Together with Nanjing's Memorial Hall and a Japan-based committee, Azuma collected evidence to prove the truth of his diary, denouncing Japanese right-wing activists who attempted to deny the slaughter.


Jing Shenghong, a history professor of Nanjing Normal University who had much contact with Azuma, said, "He was a warrior fighting for justice; he was a sincere friend to Chinese people; and he stood for the Japanese mainstream in respect of the attitude toward history."  


Relations between China and Japan reached a nadir since the bilateral ties were normalized in 1972, diplomatic observers said.  


The two neighboring countries experienced a chill in relations in 2005 due to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's controversial visits to Yasukuni Shrine where 14 WWII Class-A war criminals are honored along with about 2 million other war dead, the publishing of Japanese history textbooks that gloss over its wartime atrocities, and Japan's unilateral oil field exploration, observers said.


(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2006)

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