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Who Was to Blame for Sino-Japanese War
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The Chinese version of a history book on Sino-Japanese War seven decades ago, written by a group of Japanese journalists, was published Tuesday.

The book named "From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor: Who was responsible?" was written by journalists of the War Responsibility Reexamination Committee set up by the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun after 14 months of research and interviews since 2005.

The book with 350,000 Chinese words, published by Xinhua Publishing House, comprises three sections.

The first introduces the background of the Sino-Japanese war, covering aspects of Japan's society and government before the war, from the Emperor, the government and military leaders to the press.

The second section covers the period from 1928 to 1945, including a cluster of critical events from the 1931 Manchurian Incident, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 to Japan's surrender in 1945.

The third part, most interesting, analyzes who was responsible for the war and what lessons modern Japan can learn from the war.

"People with no experience of wartime are now a majority of the Japanese population. As such, I believe it is the Yomiuri Shimbun's obligation as the nation's largest newspaper to tell the Japanese populace, 'Who was responsible for starting the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, why they did so and why the nation kept fighting until many of its cities had been almost completely reduced to ashes'." said Tsuneo Watanabe, editor-in-chief of the Yomiuri Shimbun, in the foreword.

The book also included more than 100 photos, taken by the photographers of Yomiuri Shimbun during the war, most of which were first published in China.

"The Yomiuri Shimbun's efforts were based on its belief that there can be no genuinely honest and friendly dialogue with those countries which suffered considerable damage and casualties in the wars with Japan, without correctly understanding Japan's past," Watanabe said.

"Although I have some different opinions from this book on the research of the Sino-Japanese War, I truly admire the courage of the writers from Yomiuri Shimbun to step over parochial nationalism and the valuable academic work they did," said Bu Ping, director of Institute of Modern Chinese History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who wrote the preface for the Chinese version.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Sino-Japanese War and the Nanjing Massacre.

According to China's official record, about 35 million Chinese died in the eight-year war, including 31.2 million civilians.

China has long complained the Japanese government has failed to properly recognize its responsibility for the war and to make a formal apology.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2007)

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