Japan urged to reflect on its aggression
Beijing strongly protested on Sunday over Tokyo's latest moves concerning the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of the country's past militarism that honors 14 convicted Class-A Japanese World War II war criminals.
As Japan marked the 76th anniversary of its World War II surrender on Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga sent a ritual offering to the shrine and three of his Cabinet ministers-Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and World Expo Minister Shinji Inoue-visited the shrine, as did former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement on Sunday: "China lodged solemn representations with the Japanese side in Tokyo and in Beijing (over the visits and the ritual offering), expressing strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition.
"China urges Japan to earnestly honor its statements and commitments on facing up to and reflecting on its history of aggression, and to act prudently on historical issues including the Yasukuni Shrine," Hua said in the statement, adding that "history cannot be forgotten, and the crime of aggression cannot be covered up".
Saying the Japanese officials' actions on the issue of the shrine "affront historical justice and seriously hurt the feelings of the people in the victimized Asian countries, including China", Hua called on Japan "to be cautious in word and deed concerning historical issues such as the Yasukuni Shrine".
During World War II, Japan brutally occupied many parts of Asia, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people and forced Chinese and Korean women into sexual servitude for Japanese troops.
In 1937, the Japanese invaders killed some 300,000 Chinese in an indiscriminate slaughter over six weeks in Nanjing.
However, as China and South Korea mourn their war dead, Suga on Sunday offered no apology to the Asian victims.
In a somber ceremony at Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Suga said the tragedy of war should never be repeated, but he avoided apologizing for his country's past aggression.
In his first speech on the event as prime minister, Suga said, "We will commit to our pledge to never repeat the tragedy of the war."
But, like the precedent set by his predecessor Abe, Suga mainly focused on damage inflicted on Japan and its people instead, a tack criticized by many as "trying to whitewash the nation's brutal past".
Japanese Emperor Naruhito, in contrast, expressed his "deep remorse" for the country's wartime actions, following his father Akihito, who devoted his 30-year career to making amends for a war fought in the name of Hirohito, the current emperor's grandfather.
In a statement to China Daily, the Chinese embassy in Japan said: "Relevant negative moves of the Japanese side once again reflected Japan's wrong attitude toward its history of aggression and once again proved that Japan is trying to conceal and deny its war crimes.
"We urge Japan to draw a clear line with militarism and take concrete actions that would win the trust of its Asian neighbors as well as the international community," the statement said.
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