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Historians Protest Japanese PM's Shrine Visit
More than 60 Chinese history experts and scholars gathered Tuesday to protest against the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's latest visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.

The gathering was held at the Memorial Hall of the War of Resistance to Japanese Aggression in Beijing.

He Li, director of the China Society for the Study of the Anti-Japanese War, said that the Yasukuni Shrine which enshrines the memorial tablets of 14 Class-A war criminals is not just a sacred site. It has become an important front for the Japanese right-wing force.

He further noted the fact that a Japanese leader revisits the shrine creates world doubt and alarm because the visit means the Japanese government is increasingly influenced by its right-wing.

After last year's "September 11" attack in the United States, the right-wing in Japan hoisted the banner of anti-terrorism while enacting a series of bills which are intended to change the country's military objective from territorial defense to the expansion of overseas forces, he added.

Li Liangzhi, a professor with the People's University of China, said that Koizumi had delivered a speech at the Memorial Hall of the War of Resistance to Japanese Aggression during his visit to China last October, in which he admitted Japan was responsible for the aggression, said he pondered deeply about the aggression carried out during the war and expressed heartfelt sorrow for it and apologized profoundly.

Six months later, while his words were still reverberating in Chinese people's ears, Koizumi visited the shrine again.

His erroneous action deeply hurt the feelings of Chinese and all Asian people and severely damaged Japan's image internationally.

Luo Huanzhang, a research fellow with China's Military Academy of Sciences pointed out that with Japan's economic downturn, Koizumi intended to boost his flagging popularity by visiting the shrine even though he risked the world's condemnation by doing so.

This type of political gambling is doomed to failure and his action must be strongly condemned as it is a political provocation to the people in China and in the rest of Asia.

All the experts and scholars finally stressed that as this year marks the 65 anniversary of the July 7, 1937 incident and the 30th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations, the Japanese government should use history as a mirror and look forward to the future.

The Japanese government should also attach great importance to the solemn and just stand of Chinese government and introspect the war of aggression so as to win the trust of the Asian people.

(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2002)

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