China expressed concern on
Tuesday at Japan's plans to rewrite its pacifist constitution, saying it was a
cause for misgiving for Asian countries which suffered Japanese invasion and
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at 52 Japan's first prime minister born after
World War Two, has made revising the constitution a key element in his efforts
to boost Japan's role in global security affairs.
On Monday Japan's parliament passed a law outlining steps for a referendum on
revising the charter, which was drafted by US occupation authorities in
China's Xinhua news agency, noting that the pace of moves to amend the
constitution had quickened under Abe, said parliament's passing of the voting
bill signified another "substantive step" in Japan's path towards amending the
It had also aroused "high concern and misgivings among the people of Asia who
suffered Japanese invasion and enslavement", Xinhua said.
"People have begun to doubt whether Japan will continue its path of peaceful
Japan occupied the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945 and invaded and
occupied parts of China in the first half of the 20th century. It invaded
Malaysia, then known as Malaya, Singapore, the Philippines and other Asian
countries during World War Two.
Article 9 at present renounces the right to wage war to resolve international
disputes and bans the maintenance of a military.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news conference on
Tuesday that neighbouring Asian countries had given their "utmost attention" to
the plan to revise the constitution.
"The facts demonstrate that the Japanese people were correct in choosing the
path of peaceful development. We hope that Japan adheres to this direction."
Sino-Japanese ties have been overshadowed for years by what Beijing says is
Tokyo's refusal to admit to atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China
between 1931 and 1945.
For instance, Beijing says Japanese troops slaughtered 300,000 men, women and
children after taking the then Chinese capital of Nanking (now Nanjing), in
1937. An Allied tribunal after World War Two put the death toll at about
Some Japanese historians say the massacre has been exaggerated and some
conservatives deny it even happened.