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60th Anniversary of Repatriation of Japanese Nationals
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People's Daily on Thursday published an article marking the 60th anniversary of the repatriation of 1.05 million Japanese nationals in China after World War II.

The article, entitled "from tools of aggression to seeds of Sino-Japan friendship", notes that China took priority in repatriating Japanese nationals after Japan surrendered to the Allies in August 1945.

Limited by shortages of natural resources, Japan adopted a policy of emigration and colonization. Japanese emigration to China saw a surge from 1931, when the Japanese troops occupied the northeast of China.

By the end of World War II, there were more than 2 million Japanese emigrants in China, most of whom were farmers in the northeastern regions.

Two months after the Japanese surrender, however, China and the United States made a plan to repatriate the Japanese emigrants.

On May 7, 1946, nine months after Japan surrendered to the Allies, about 2,500 Japanese emigrants began their voyage home from Huludao, a small island in northeast China's Liaoning Province, marking the beginning of China's humanitarian effort in repatriation of Japanese emigrants that lasted into 1948.

After the founding of new China in 1949, another 30,000 Japanese emigrants returned home. From 1956, former Japanese soldiers returned home after being released from the two war criminal prisons in China.

After the normalization of relations between China and Japan in 1972, the final 7,000 Japanese women and orphans left in China returned to their homeland, marking the completion of the repatriation effort.

Although the repatriation was 60 years ago, the effort of implementing the repatriation, which exerted significant influence on the establishment of new relations between China and Japan, is worthy of studying and commemorating, the article noted.

A lot of Japanese emigrants highly praised China's repatriation effort as act of great virtue and humanity after they returned home. Many, especially those who returned after the founding of new China, have become promoters of Sino-Japan friendship, according to the article.

"It is vital that we do not forget how the war triggered by Japanese militarists turned innocent people into tools of aggression. Moreover, we should never forget how Chinese people's magnanimity and love for peace turned Japanese emigrants into promoters of Sino-Japan friendship," the article emphasized.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2006)

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