State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Thursday urged Japan to properly handle the Yasukuni Shrine issue in the spirit of taking history as a mirror to look towards the future.
"The Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted class-A World War II criminals, have severely damaged China-Japan relations and go against Japan's national interests," Tang told a delegation of the Japan-China New Century Association which consists of Japanese parliamentarians.
Tang said an improvement in Japan's attitude toward its military past is a prerequisite if Japan is to improve its relations with other Asian neighbors.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's five visits to the shrine, the last one in October, have angered China and other Asian countries.
Tang said the Chinese government and people have resolutely pursued the basic principle of China-Japan friendship. Under current the circumstances, the non-governmental sectors of the two countries in particular should carry out friendly cooperation and exchanges so as to promote bilateral relations, he said.
Endo Otohiko, head of the Japanese delegation, acknowledged the current difficulties in Japan-China relations, saying the association will enhance exchanges with China in the hope of increasing mutual understanding and contributing to bilateral relations.
(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2005)