View Full Version : China thawing on its war with Japan?

Rising Sun*
04-30-2009, 09:48 AM
Given that these news items come from Xinhua, the Chinese news service run by the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party, it looks like the Chinese leadership has decided to maintain ostensible concern about Japan's war in China while presenting to the Chinese people weak apologies by Japan as strong apologies, as a prelude to doing trade deals with Japan.

Wen urges Japan to properly handle historical issues

BEIJING, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday called on Japan to honor its promise and handle historical issues in an appropriate way.

In his talks lasting more than two hours with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso in the Great Hall of the People, Wen said historical issues were highly sensitive and affected people's feelings.

He called on governments and political figures on both sides to stick to the principles of the four China-Japan political documents, and make unremitting efforts to push forward bilateral ties.

China was willing to cooperate with Japan to expand youth and non-governmental exchanges, to boost understanding between the two peoples, Wen said.

Aso told Wen Japan's stance on historical issues was fully reflected in the official statements by Japanese prime ministers in 1995 and 2005. The main spirit in the statements is facing up to history and looking into the future.

That stance has not changed, he said.

Japan was willing to properly handle existing problems in Japan-China ties and enhance political trust, he said.

Aso called for closer youth exchanges through the mechanisms including dialogue among youth economic elites to foster affection between the two peoples.

China-Japan ties had maintained positive growth momentum, Wen said, adding the hard-won situation should be treasured by both sides.

The two premiers also covered other important issues including the global economic downturn, swine flu and regional security.

It is Aso's third meeting with the Chinese state leaders in a month, following his meetings with President Hu Jintao in London and with Wen Jiabao in Pattaya, Thailand.

Aso arrived in Beijing earlier Wednesday for a two-day China tour, his first official visit to China since he took office in September.


Hu calls on joint efforts to settle China-Japan disputes

BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday called for joint efforts from Japan to properly settle existing problems and disputes between the two countries, especially historical issues.

Hu told visiting Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso it is a set policy of the Chinese government to push forward China-Japan bilateral strategic mutual-beneficial ties in an all-round way.

China is ready to make joint efforts with Japan to abide by the principles and spirits of the four Sino-Japanese political documents, and increasingly cement the political foundation and ensure healthy and stable development of bilateral relations, Hu said.

As expounded in the official statements by Japanese prime ministers in 1995 and 2005, the Japanese government will face up to history and keep oriented to the future, Aso said.

"That stance has not changed and would never change," he said.

On the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II on Aug. 15, 1995, the then Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued a statement expressing "deep remorse" and his "heartfelt apology" for Japan's colonial rule and aggression before and during the war.

Murayama is the first Japanese prime minister to publicly admit Japan's aggression and to apologize to the war victims.

On the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15 of 2005,the then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized to the victims of Japan's past aggression and expressed willingness to join hands with Asian neighbors like China and the Republic of Korea to help maintain peace in the region.


Rising Sun*
04-30-2009, 10:27 AM
Contrast the above current Chinese leadership pro-Japanese propaganda - sorry, heartfelt statements :rolleyes: - with past reality.

First example

On the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II on Aug. 15, 1995, the then Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama issued a statement expressing "deep remorse" and his "heartfelt apology" for Japan's colonial rule and aggression before and during the war.

Not quite what really happened in the eyes of others.

Japan's former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized to the victims of Japan's aggressive war. His apology should be welcome.
However, as already been pointed out, his apology was only a personal one. His feelings were obviously not shared by the majority of his colleagues in the Japanese government. He failed to make a formal and official apology in the so-called No War Resolution. Only 26% of the diet members supported the Resolution and 47% were against it.

Furthermore, the ex-education minister Seisuke Okuno managed to organize a national campaign and collected 4.5 million signatures against the Resolution.

For those who have been struggling for a genuine reconciliation between Japan and its neighbouring countries, their battle is not over yet. http://www.cnd.org/mirror/nanjing/NMAPOLOGY.html

Nor is Murayama's personal apology accepted by elements of the modern Japanese military forces.

TOKYO - MORE than 70 Japanese air force officers have written essays arguing Japan should not have apologised for its actions in World War Two, it emerged on Thursday in the latest row over the country's militarist past.

The air force's top general was sacked last week after he submitted an essay in a writing contest saying Japan was not an aggressor in the war, sparking anger in China and South Korea, where many suffered under Japan's invasion and occupation.

The views of air force chief of staff Toshio Tamogami are shared by some Japanese right-wing historians and politicians, but they contradict a government apology for wartime actions issued in 1995 under then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.

Tamogami's essay won a prize and was published on a website as part of a competition organised by a real estate company.

On Thursday, the Defence Ministry said 78 members of the air force, including 74 officers, had submitted essays in the competition.

Their views were all similar to those expressed by Tamogami, Mr Toshio Motoya, chief executive officer of Apa Group, which ran the competition, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

'The government's opinion, the Murayama statement, is wrong and that is being distorted by the media', Mr Motoya said.

'All 230 competition entrants said that what is being taught and broadcast by the media is wrong. There were no essays expressing the opposite view. They were all close to Mr Tamogami'.

Mr Motoya said he was head of a friendship group associated with an air force base, but that he had not promoted the essay competition among the armed forces and had been surprised to come across Tamogami's name.

'We wondered if it was all right to publish it. So we contacted him and he said it was his firmly held opinion and bravely said we could release his name and title,' Mr Motoya added.

Japan's defence minister said on Thursday he hoped Tamogami, who was fired from his post but allowed to retire from the armed forces, would return his retirement allowance.

Tamogami said he had no intention of returning the lump sum, because that would imply he had disavowed the views expressed in his essay, broadcaster NHK said.

The essay criticised the tight restrictions placed on Japan's military by the US-drafted postwar pacifist constitution and urges readers to 'take back the glorious history of Japan'.

'The Japanese media are saying all sorts of terrible things, but I think he is a samurai with sound views', Mr Motoya said.

Prime Minister Taro Aso will be anxious to smooth the issue over, weeks before a trilateral summit with China and South Korea he plans to host in southern Japan.

Mr Aso has come under fire in the past for comments apparently praising Japan's 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean peninsula, but has more recently said he stands by the Murayama apology. -- REUTERS http://forums.vr-zone.com/world-news-singapore-affairs/348970-news-japan-air-force-officers-reject-war-apology-essays.html

Rising Sun*
04-30-2009, 10:44 AM
Second example.

On the 60th anniversary of Japan's surrender on Aug. 15 of 2005,the then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologized to the victims of Japan's past aggression and expressed willingness to join hands with Asian neighbors like China and the Republic of Korea to help maintain peace in the region.



Koizumi’s visit to the Yasukuni shrine legitimises Japanese militarism
By Peter Symonds
17 August 2001

Despite his attempts to play down the significance of the ceremony, Monday’s visit by Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the Yasukuni shrine for the country’s war-dead had an unambiguous meaning. It marked a further step in the public resurrection and legitimisation of the symbols of Japan’s militarist regimes, which prior to and during World War II invaded China and much of South East Asia and brutally suppressed any opposition at home and abroad.

Koizumi’s visit had been scheduled for Wednesday—the anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II—but was switched at the last minute in an effort to placate critics. The prime minister appeared at the shrine in central Tokyo and was led inside by a Shinto priest, to the cheers of rightwing nationalists and noisy protests by Koreans and university students. Inside was a huge wreath of flowers and a note that Koizumi sent on Sunday. He bowed once, signed the visitor’s book and left.

Koizumi was at pains to present the visit as a simple act of respect to Japan’s war dead. “I would like to pay homage to those who lost their lives for the country,” he said. “I am going there to pledge that Japan will never go to war again and will do its best as a peace-loving nation to help promote prosperity in the world.” He dismissed criticisms that the Yasukuni shrine houses memorials to a number of convicted war criminals, saying: “Why do we have to select among the dead?”

If Koizumi had simply wanted to pay his respects to the ordinary Japanese troops who died in World War II, he could have done what he did on Wednesday—visit the tomb of the unknown soldier, a memorial that has none of the political or religious associations of Yasukuni. To pay homage at Yasukuni is anything but an innocuous political act.

The Shinto shrine was built in 1869 and is said to house the souls of 2.5 million soldiers who have died in Japan’s wars. During the 1930s and 1940s, it became the focus for the official state ideology—a reactionary mixture of Shintoism, emperor-worship and militarism. While the postwar constitution ended Shintoism as a state religion and reduced the emperor from the status of a god to constitutional monarch, the shrine has remained a constant centre of attention for extreme rightwing nationalist groups.

In 1978, the priests conducted a secret ceremony enshrining a new list of war dead, among them 14 Japanese leaders convicted as Class-A war criminals by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Seven of these, including Japan’s wartime prime minister Hideki Tojo, were hanged by the occupation authorities. The news leaked out some six months later, provoking widespread outrage, but the priests refused to back down. Inside the shrine, signs refer to Tojo and the others as “martyrs” who were “wrongly accused by the Allied forces”.

The shrine has a small attached military museum, which includes artillery pieces, a tank and a locomotive that ran on the notorious Burma railway. Yasukuni is an object of worship for rightwing militarists and veterans, who often visit dressed in wartime military uniforms. Members of the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have routinely made a pilgrimage to Yasukuni—in “a private capacity”. The only other post-war prime minister to visit Yasukuni in an official capacity was Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985.

2006 - a year after Koizumi's 2005 'apology' trumpeted in the opening article above and a mere three years ago, the very same Xinhua Chinese propaganda news agency wasn't presenting him or Japan as apologetic.

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement here Tuesday, strongly protesting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit again to the war criminals-honoring Yasukuni Shrine.

Regardless of the concern and opposition from the international community, neighboring Asian countries and the Japanese people, the statement said, Koizumi insisted on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which is a move that "challenges the international justice and tramples the conscience of mankind".

Koizumi repeatedly hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and his acts have made him lose credit to the international community and the Japanese people alike, and undermined Japan's state image and interests, said the statement.

I suppose this is all just an inevitable consequence of China moving to a capitalist system where money will override principle. Unlike other systems where other forms of self-interest will override principle. :( :evil:

05-01-2009, 01:52 PM
The eventual formation of an Asian Union would make for some interesting changes in the balance of economic, and political relations. Not to mention the Confederation of Scandinavian states, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland (good whisky) Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and The Baltic nations.The U.K. may also join them, along with a unified Ireland. The present E.U. will grow to include most of the present Russian Republic, (those parts that do not otherwise join the Asian Union, or the confed. of Scandinavian States) Hey, it could happen,,,:)

Rising Sun*
08-14-2009, 10:07 AM
Chinese WWII captives ask Japanese companies for compensation

A legal aid team for Chinese captives who were forced into labor in Japan during World War II has sent out Attorney Opinion Letters to 20 Japanese companies asking for apologies and compensation on Wednesday, the Beijing News reported today. The lowest claim for compensation is $ 20,000.

The twenty Japanese companies include famous ones like Mitsubishi Motors, Sumitomo Corp, and Nippon Mining Holdings.

The aid team leader, Dang Jianguo, said about 40,000 Chinese were abducted from China and forced to work in Japan between 1944 and 1945. Seven hundred labor victims are still alive today.

Deng said the Japanese government has refused to compensate because of the large number of victims. "But we think companies are likely to agree to our request since the number of forced workers working for a single company is relatively small," he said.

"First and foremost, they have to offer an apology," Deng added.

One of the things I learned very quickly acting for victims of crime is that the motivating factor is most often a desire for vindication; for acknowledgement that the crime occurred; and for recognition of their status as a victim, but not in some silly psychological sense but as confirmation that they were not responsible for and should not be criticised for being a victim. This is often most potent in victims of sexual offences where there is a lack of the apparent external confirmation of being a victim which applies to victims of more overt physical assaults.

The same desire for acknowledgement, for admission of guilt by Japan, underlines the last sentence in the quote and the efforts of other victims of Japan such as the comfort women to have Japan acknowledge them and its crime towards them.

Deng will die in a snowstorm in hell before Japan will admit any liability towards the Chinese it despised after a few decades of the vile racism towards them leading up to its various atrocities in the 1930s and 1940s in China and elsewhere against Chinese. Still, we have to admire Deng for trying when even Japan's Prime Minister can't apologise, let alone compensate anyone, for his family company's use of slave labour in WWII.

WWII forced labor issue dogs Aso, Japanese firms

Special to The Japan Times

After evading the issue for more than two years, Taro Aso conceded to foreign reporters on the eve of becoming prime minister that Allied POWs worked at his family's coal mine in Kyushu during World War II.

Labor pains: Prime Minister Taro Aso was president of Aso Cement Co., the successor firm to Aso Mining, in the 1970s. Hundreds of Allied POWs and thousands of Koreans conscripts were forced to work for the firm during the war.

But Aso's terse admission fell far short of the apology overseas veterans' groups have demanded, while refocusing attention on Japan's unhealed legacy of wartime forced labor by Asians and Westerners.

Calls for forced labor reparations are growing louder due to Prime Minister Aso's personal ties to the brutal practice, as well as his combative reputation as a historical revisionist. The New York Times recently referred to "nostalgic fantasies about Japan's ugly past for which Mr. Aso has become well known." Reuters ran an article headlined "Japan's PM haunted by family's wartime past."

Three hundred Allied prisoners of war (197 Australians, 101 British and two Dutch) were forced to dig coal without pay for Aso Mining Co. in 1945. Some 10,000 Korean labor conscripts worked under severe conditions in the company's mines between 1939 and 1945; many died and most were never properly paid.

Taro Aso was president of Aso Cement Co., the successor firm to Aso Mining, during the 1970s and oversaw publication of a 1,000-page corporate history that omitted all mention of Allied POWs. Aso's father headed Aso Mining during the war. The family's business empire is known as Aso Group today and is run by Aso's younger brother, with the prime minister's wife serving on the board of directors. The company has never commented on the POW issue, nor provided information about Aso Mining's Korean workforce despite requests from the South Korean government.

Newspapers in Australia and the United Kingdom vigorously reported Aso Mining's use of POWs in 2006. But with Aso then at its helm, Japan's Foreign Ministry cast doubt on the overseas media accounts and challenged journalists to provide evidence.

Last year The Japan Times described how, in early 1946, the Japanese government presented Allied war crimes investigators with the Aso Company Report, detailing living and working conditions for the 300 prisoners. Yet Foreign Minister Aso continued to sidestep the POW controversy even after his office was provided with a copy of the report, which is written on Aso Mining stationery and bears company seals.

Courts in Japan and former Allied nations have rejected legal claims by ex-POWs, so the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway have all compensated their own surviving POWs. Hundreds of British and Dutch POWs and family members have made reconciliation-style visits to Japan in recent years as part of the Tokyo-sponsored Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative. Stiffed by the U.S. government, American POWs have also been excluded from Japan's reconciliation schemes — a situation they say Prime Minister Aso has a special responsibility to correct.

Some 700,000 Korean civilians — including teenage girls — were brought to Japan to work for private firms through various means of coercion. Hundreds of thousands of other Koreans were forced to perform harsh labor elsewhere in Japan's empire or conscripted into the Japanese military.

South Korea's 85-member Truth Commission on Forced Mobilization Under Japanese Imperialism began work in 2005. Legislation passed last year will provide national payments of up to $20,000 to former military and civilian conscripts and family members. The measure also calls for individually tailored compensation based on unpaid wages, pension contributions and related benefits owed to Korean workers but now held by the Bank of Japan.

Seoul needs Japanese cooperation in the form of name rosters and details about the BOJ financial deposits in order to fully implement its compensation plan. Repatriating the hundreds of sets of Korean remains currently stored in Japan, many of them belonging to military and civilian conscripts killed during the war, is another key aim of ongoing reparations work. Company records would greatly aid the process of identifying remains that have been located in temples and municipal charnel houses around the country.

Rising Sun*
08-14-2009, 10:09 AM
The Japanese government has been cooperating fitfully on "humanitarian grounds" in the case of military conscription, supplying Korean officials with some wartime records and returning the remains of 101 Korean soldiers to Seoul last January. But the Japanese side is mostly stonewalling on civilian conscripts like those at Aso Mining.

Japanese officials contend, rather implausibly, that they do not know how many Korean civilians were conscripted or how many died in the custody of private companies because the state was never directly involved. South Korea's truth commission criticized Aso Group and Foreign Minister Aso in 2005 for failing to supply information.

"I have no intention to explain," Japan's chief diplomat told a Japanese reporter at the time. Earlier this month, Diet member Shokichi Kina asked Prime Minister Aso whether any data about Aso Mining was ever given to South Korea. Aso replied that his administration will not disclose how individual corporations have responded to Korean inquiries.

Noriaki Fukudome of the Truth-Seeking Network for Forced Mobilization, a citizens group based in Fukuoka, has been centrally involved in advancing the South Korean truth commission's work within Japan.

Aso Group, says Fukudome, "has an obligation to actively cooperate with returning remains and providing records because it was one of the companies that employed the most forced laborers. But Japanese companies are keeping a lid on the whole forced labor issue. In the unlikely event that Prime Minister Aso was to direct Aso Cement (now Aso Lafarge Cement since its merger with a French conglomerate) to actively face the forced labor problem, it would have a huge effect on all Japanese companies."

Fukudome pointed to Japan's conformist corporate culture as one reason why very few of the hundreds of companies that used Asians and Allied POWs for forced labor have taken steps toward reconciliation. "Even if one company has a relatively positive attitude regarding reparations, it will not take action out of deference for other companies," he said.

Chinese were the victims of the third class of forced labor in Japan. While Aso Mining was not involved in Chinese forced labor, lack of progress for the especially compelling redress claim highlights Japan's weak commitment to settling wartime accounts.

Postwar records secretly compiled — and then purposely destroyed — by the Japanese government and 35 companies state that 38,935 Chinese males between the ages of 11 and 78 were brought to Japan between 1943 and 1945. More than one out of six died.

Japan's Supreme Court ruled last year that the 1972 treaty that restored ties between Japan and China bars Chinese forced labor survivors from filing legal claims. Yet the court found that plaintiffs had been forcibly transported to Japan and forced to toil in wretched conditions, and suggested they be redressed through non-judicial means. Having previously declared that the "slave-like forced labor was an outrage against humanity," the Fukuoka High Court earlier this month similarly urged "voluntary measures" to remedy the injustice.

Kajima Corp., one of the world's largest construction companies, set up a "relief fund" in 2000 to compensate survivors of its Hanaoka work site, where 418 out of 986 Chinese perished and an uprising took place. The move prompted expectations that Japan's industrial sector and central government might establish a redress fund for all its victims of forced labor, similar to the "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future" Foundation enacted in Germany that same year. The $6 billion German fund eventually compensated 1.6 million forced labor victims or their heirs.

Such hopes for corporate social responsibility in Japan were dashed. On the contrary, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. defended itself in a Fukuoka courtroom in 2005 by rejecting facts about Chinese forced labor routinely recognized by Japan's judiciary and insisting only voluntary workers were used — despite death rates of up to 31 percent at its Kyushu mines. Mitsubishi openly questioned whether Japan ever "invaded" China at all and warned judges that compensating the elderly Chinese plaintiffs would saddle Japan with a "mistaken burden of the soul" for hundreds of years.

Taro Aso, in fact, is not the Japanese prime minister most closely connected to forced labor. Wartime Cabinet minister Nobusuke Kishi was in charge of the empire's labor programs and was later imprisoned for three years as a Class A war crimes suspect. Kishi went on to become a founder of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955 and Japan's premier from 1957-60. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is Kishi's grandson.

Foreign Ministry files declassified in 2002 revealed that Kishi's administration conspired to deceive the Diet and citizens' groups about the state's possession of Chinese forced labor records. Kishi's intent was to block Japanese activists from returning remains to China and publicizing the program's true nature, as well as to head off state reparations demands from Beijing. In 2003, the Foreign Ministry searched a basement storeroom and found 20,000 pages of Chinese forced labor records submitted by companies in 1946, despite decades of denials that such records existed.

Millions of Asians performed forced labor outside of Japan during the Asia Pacific War, very often for the benefit of Japanese companies still operating today. The so-called comfort women represent a uniquely abused group of war victims forced to provide sex for Japan's military. Last year governments in North America and Europe urged Japan to do more to right the egregious comfort-women wrong.

The Dutch foreign minister renewed that call last week, prior to a visit to Japan set to include a stop at the Commonwealth War Cemetery where hundreds of Allied POWs are buried, including two Australians who died at Aso Mining.

Days after assuming Japan's top post, Aso apologized "for my past careless remarks" in a speech before Parliament. "From now on," he pledged, "I will make statements while bearing in mind the gravity of the words of a prime minister." Many are waiting for the words "I'm sorry" for forced labor.

William Underwood completed his doctoral dissertation at Kyushu University on forced labor in wartime Japan. His past research is available at www.japanfocus.org and he can be reached at kyushubill@yahoo.com. Send comments on this issue and story ideas to community@japantimes.co.jp

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The only comfort I derive from Mr Aso's conduct is that in Australia some people's lazy diction says 'aso' for 'arsehole' as in "He's a ****en aso!"

12-21-2009, 06:15 PM
It seems that the only alternative to shame in Japan is suicide. Losing a war is a very shameful thing in the eyes of the Japanese and to admit this is completely and utterly intolerable and unacceptable to many, if not most. It is a very chilling thing to consider that more than 60 years later, the Japanese have still not owned up to what they did. I find it personally abhorrent and repulsive, but perhaps others have a more generous view.

12-22-2009, 01:12 AM
Given that these news items come from Xinhua, the Chinese news service run by the propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party, it looks like the Chinese leadership has decided to maintain ostensible concern about Japan's war in China while presenting to the Chinese people weak apologies by Japan as strong apologies, as a prelude to doing trade deals with Japan.

Mate, what's wrong with it?
The communist propogand has no deal to Chinas economical and political interests. Chinas domestic capitalists needs the Japane hight-tech investition for it's growing plants.The Chanas thawing on japane is the nessesary political step , especialy in face of global crisys that come from ...USA.That political step is an excellent example of Chinas pragmatism ( Economical factors over political)
Yet recently ( couple years ago)the Chinas provoked an "peoples riots" on japane embassy for Japane revisionism in their school-books - so i don't really think the CHina migh to forget the what Japanese did in ww2.
The "new-course" political China's stance toward Japane is nothing but reaction on the global change in world.The new Asiatic alliance is very possible in future.

Deaf Smith
12-22-2009, 08:01 PM
Sooner or later everyone involved in WW2 will be dead. And then maybe peace will come.

There are so many hard feelings due to what the Japanese did to the Chinese and the lack of the Japanese admitting (the Germans did and you see how most of the world in time accepted it.)

The only thing I worry about is if the Japanese didn't learn their lessons and later become imperialistic all over again.


Rising Sun*
12-23-2009, 07:54 AM
Sooner or later everyone involved in WW2 will be dead. And then maybe peace will come.

I think it takes longer than that.

The memory of injustice is passed down the generations all over the world.

The only thing I worry about is if the Japanese didn't learn their lessons and later become imperialistic all over again.

If they do, my money's on China next time around.

Japan could manage to still be the only country which has been nuked, but nuked in two different wars.

I don't think modern Japan is that stupid.