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Japan seeks to improve China ties
Updated: 2005-04-12 10:44

Japan will seek diplomatic dialogue with China to improve bilateral relationship, a government spokesman said Monday in the wake of massive demonstrations in China over the long-standing irritant of history issues.

"It (China) is a neighboring country, so diplomacy is very important and miscommunication should not grow between us," Kyodo News quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda as saying.

"We want to deal with the development through close exchange of opinions," the spokesman said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on the same day that the responsibility for the current situation of Sino-Japanese relations does not lie with China.

"Japan must adopt an earnest attitude and appropriate ways to deal with major principled issues concerning the feelings of the Chinese people," he said, "The Japanese have to do more things conducive to enhancing mutual trust and maintaining the relations between the two countries, rather than doing the reverse."

Demonstrations erupted in some major Chinese cities during the weekend to protest Japan's distortion of its wartime past, which was contained in revised school textbooks beautifying Japan's aggression against China and some other Asian countries last century.

Last Tuesday, Japan's Education Ministry approved the history textbooks, which are widely criticized for distorting history and whitewashing its colonial rules and wartime atrocities last century.

Japan's textbook "an insult to Chinese people": survey

About 96 percent of the respondents to a survey whose results were released Monday have said that the Japanese government's approval of a fresh version of middle school history textbooks last week "constitutes an insult to the Chinese people".

The Social Survey Institute of China, a former governmental institution which has now turned independent, interviewed 1,000 residents in major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Shenyang by telephone to seek their comments on Japan's approval of the new textbooks.

About 93 percent of the respondents said the move of the Japanese government had "distorted history gravely", while 96 percent of them said "such action had severely hurt the Chinese people's feelings and constituted an insult to the Chinese people," according to the survey results.

About 81 percent of the surveyed responded that Japan's action was an "open provocation" and "a crime committed against world peace and harmony". Ninety-seven percent of them demanded the Japanese government "make a thorough retrospection" of the country's aggressive past and apologize, the survey report said.

China holds that the textbooks approved on April 5 have severely distorted the truth about Japan's invasion of China and the wartime atrocities of the Japanese troops during World War II.

The textbook alleged that the Lugou Bridge (also known as the Macro Polo Bridge) Incident in north China on July 7, 1937, which marked the beginning of the war, was triggered by China.

It also challenged the validity of the 1937 Nanking Massacre, during which the Japanese troops savagely murdered more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and unarmed soldiers after taking the then Chinese capital.

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