The correct understanding of history is a sensitive political issue in the bilateral relations. How to acknowledge and recognize the history of Japanese militaristic invasion against China was a focal point at the negotiation table in the process of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations early in 1972. The explicit explanation has been made in the Joint Statement and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which served as the political basis for bilateral relations. The Chinese side has all along stated that “The past, if not forgotten, can serve as a guide for the future.” On the basis of respecting the history, the Chinese side wishes to look to the future and develop friendly relations between the two peoples from generation to generation. Nevertheless, the prerequisite for long-term bilateral cooperation is to face and recognize the history. During his state visit to Japan in 1998, President Jiang gave a comprehensive, thorough and systematical elaboration on principle positions of China. The Japanese side recognized its aggression against China for the first time and expressed its profound introspection and apology to the Chinese people. The two sides mutually confirmed that it was an important basis for developing Sino-Japanese relations to recognize the history correctly. On the other hand, however, incidents of denying and beautifying the history of Japanese aggression, by the very few Japanese right wings, took place from time to time.
Since the beginning of 2001, the issues of Japanese history textbook and the paying of homage to the Yasukuni Shrine take place continuously, severely disturbing the development of the Sino-Japanese relations. The Chinese side fought firmly against them in a timely manner and urged the Japanese government to abide by the Statement and promise to strictly restrain the right wings with concrete actions and educate its people with correct perception of history. During a working visit to China in October, 2001, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Museum of Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japan. He expressed his apology and condolence over the Chinese people who lost their lives in the Japanese invasion. He also stressed that Japan would review the history and no longer launch any war.