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Koizumi: China and Japan will never fight another war
Updated: 2004-11-23 13:26

Japan's Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, says his country will never go to war with China, and that bilateral ties are satisfactory.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gestures as he answers questions duringa a House of Representatives Budget Committee session at the Diet in Tokyo, 18 October 2004. Koizumi said his country would never go to war with China and that bilateral ties were satisfactory. [AFP]
Speaking to journalists after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile, Mr Koizumi said Japan enjoys good relations with China, especially when it comes to trade.

"Never again will we go to war," he said, referring to China's dislike of his annual visits to a Japanese war shrine.

The remark comes after Chinese President, Hu Jintao, warned the Japanese leader that his visits to the shrine are the "crux" of the problem with Sino-Japanese ties.

The two leaders met for talks on the sidelines of the APEC Summit.

Mr Koizumi has visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo every year since taking office in 2001.

His pilgrimages are controversial mainly because 14 convicted "Class A" war criminals are among those enshrined there.

The 2.5 million Japanese soldiers who died for their country are honored at Shinto shrine, which also contains the remains of 14 war criminals, including participants in Second World War atrocities.

However, he says he attends the sanctuary so there will be no wars.

But the visits have outraged China, where many still resent Japan's invasion and occupation of parts of the country from 1931 to 1945.

There have been no state visits between Japan and China for the past three years.Koizumi

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