Japan's soul-searching over its wartime crimes lags far behind Germany's

By Cai Hong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, August 24, 2015
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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) attends a memorial service ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two at Budokan Hall in Tokyo August 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier, close to the Kremlin on May 10. Along with other Western leaders, she skipped the military parade in Red Square marking the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in protest over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its role in eastern Ukraine.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to follow the example of Merkel.

China has invited Abe, among other world leaders, to the events in Beijing on Sept 3 to observe the 70th anniversary of its victory over the Imperial Japanese army.

Japanese media reported that Abe wants to take the invitation as a chance to visit China and have a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping but does not want to attend the military parade in Beijing.

The Mainichi Shimbun even published the details of Abe's Beijing visit, which it said would start in the afternoon of Sept 3.

However, China's foreign ministry said the invitation to Abe was for the ceremonies, not an invitation for an official visit.

Abe has had no formal summit meetings with the leaders of China and the Republic of Korea since he became prime minister for second time in December 2012; although Xi has talked with him briefly on the sidelines of two international conferences.

While Abe wants to take Merkel as his role model, he should know that the German leader was at the commemorations in Normandy, France, in June for the ceremonies marking the Allied troops' D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

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