FM slams denial of Nanjing Massacre

Updated: 2012-02-21 09:35

By Wang Chenyan (China Daily)

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Nagoya mayor's claim over slaughter is 'nonsense', says history expert

BEIJING - China does not accept Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura's denial of the crime of the Nanjing Massacre, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing on Monday.

Hong emphasized that there is irrefutable evidence regarding the Nanjing Massacre and China hopes Japan "takes history as a mirror", urging Tokyo to properly deal with historical problems.

Kawamura, head of the Nagoya municipal government, told Liu Zhiwei, a member of the Communist Party of China Nanjing City Standing Committee, that he thought the massacre of civilians by Japanese troops in 1937 never took place.

"There were regular combative activities, but I believe the Nanjing (Massacre) never happened," he said.

The Japanese army slaughtered more than 300,000 men, women and children when they invaded Nanjing, then the capital of China.

Japan's government said "the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts" cannot be denied, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan in the "Historical Issues Q&A" section of its website.

Kawamura declared his doubts because he said his father was "welcomed" by people in Nanjing when the war ended eight years later.

The 63-years-old mayor's father Kaneo Kawamura was one of the soldiers guilty of the war crime.

In a telephone interview with Kyoto News, Zhu Chengshan, director of the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, criticized Kawamura's talk as "nonsense" and said that proof of the massacre had been presented at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal.

Though Nanjing and Nagoya established a sister city relationship in 1978, it is not the first time Kawamura has made comments on the massacre. In September 2009, he told the Nagoya city assembly that he doubted the number of casualties in the Nanjing Massacre.

Feng Zhaokui, a researcher with the Institute of Japanese Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said there was "no evidence" to support Kawamura's statement.

"Such a statement by a mayor cannot be neglected, but mainstream academic circles in Japan frankly acknowledge the Nanjing Massacre," Feng added.

Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of International Relations in Beijing, also said Kawamura's denial of the crime by referring to his father's own experience "does not make sense".

"It is logically wrong to write off a truth based on an individual's feeling," Yang told China Daily. "There is a small group of people in Japan whose conception of history is wrong. But no matter how many people in Nanjing were killed in 1937, the essential fact is Japan does admit the slaughter."

Also during the news conference, replying to Japanese protests over a Chinese surveillance ship's order to stop a Japanese coastguard vessel, Hong said that China opposed "any unilateral action within the disputed area".

On Sunday, the China Marine Surveillance 66 ocean surveillance ship called on a Japanese coastguard vessel to stop its so-called marine survey in the waters of the East China Sea.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura then protested over the request of the Chinese ship at a news conference on Monday.

Similar conduct by Japanese coastguard vessels occurred in May and September 2010.

Hong reiterated that China's position on the East China Sea is "clear and consistent", expressing the hope that both sides could make tangible efforts to protect stability in the East China Sea and the region.