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Historians Urge Japan to Properly Treat History

Japan should sincerely reflect on its war of aggression on its Asian neighbors and make genuine efforts for reconciliation, historians told an international symposium in Tokyo Thursday.


Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi said China put up a courageous fight against Japanese aggressors from 1931 to 1945, making the Chinese battlefield a vital part of the global anti-fascism war.


He noted that a proper attitude toward history is the foundation for the post-war international order, for the peaceful development of Japan, and for the healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations.


However, there have long been denials and efforts to whitewash war crimes in Japan. The history issue, particularly Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where WWII Class-A war criminals are worshipped, once again has emerged as the biggest stumbling block for Japan to develop and improve relations with its neighbors, Wang said.


In a written speech to the meeting, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Japan should make more efforts to translate its pledges to concrete action in order to be recognized by its Asian neighbors.


Chinese historians said Japan had never stopped efforts to plot and implement its war of aggression since Emperor Meiji started sweeping domestic reform in the late 19th century till 1945 when Japan surrendered.


The carefully premeditated wars launched by the Japanese militarists are anything but self-defense, they said. German scholars said, thanks to the government's soul-searching introspection and ruthlessly punishment of war criminals, Germany has achieved satisfactory results in solving its history problem. However, they said, Japan has never been able to attain a real reconciliation with its neighbors due to a lack of sincere reflection over its wartime atrocities.


Japanese historians said Japan's aggressive and colonial history started in 1874 when it waged a war on China's Taiwan. They believe the 60th anniversary of the end of Word War II has provided Japan with a good chance to show sincerity in reflecting on its wartime crimes.


If Japan fails to do so, it would be hard for the country to be accepted by the international community and realize a peaceful coexistence with other Asian countries, said Japanese scholars.


(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2005)

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