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Take correct view of history, Beijing tells Tokyo

Updated: 2015-06-17 04:32
By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

China has told Japan to take "a correct attitude" on matters related to history following a pledge by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to avoid war.

Observers in China and South Korea have voiced caution over Abe's remarks, citing the Japanese Cabinet's ambiguity over the country's wartime atrocities.

Opinion poll results show the Cabinet led by Abe, who is in office for a second time as prime minister, has suffered a drop in popularity.

This has come as the ruling coalition has triggered debate and criticism for pressing ahead with legislative campaigns to ease constitutional restraints on Japan's self-defense forces.

In an interview on Monday with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV at the prime minister's residence in Tokyo, Abe said, "Japan will never take the path of waging a war again like 70 years ago, as we have pledged no more war."

He also said Japan's new security bills would not lead to military conflict between Japan and China.

His remarks were in response to questions over whether the ongoing legislative campaign in the Japanese Diet is adding to concerns about a potential scenario in which there could be conflict between China and Japan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday, "We have noted the recent comments made by the Japanese leader."

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World Anti-Fascist War.

Lu said, "The Japanese side should take concrete actions in this special year, take a correct attitude in regard to the historical issue and convince Asian neighbors, including China, through tangible actions."

Abe is set to deliver a speech marking the anniversary on August 15, and some conservative scholars and lawmakers in Japan have urged him publicly to stop using key words such as "aggression".

Abe said on Monday that his speech will include remorse about history and will also address Japan's postwar commitment to peace.

Yang Bojiang, deputy director of the Institute of Japanese Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Abe should draw a clear line between himself and Japan's wartime history.

"For Japan, its peaceful development after the war is never an excuse to deny the history of waging aggression," Yang noted.

The JoongAng Ilbo newspaper in Seoul said in an editorial on Tuesday that the extent of any potential apology that may be made by Abe remains unknown.

It said it feared that Abe would not elaborate on Japan's wartime atrocities as his predecessor Tomiichi Murayama did 20 years ago.

A poll result released by Nippon Television in Japan on Sunday showed only 41.1 percent support for the Japanese Cabinet, a record low since he took office in 2012.


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