World / Asia-Pacific

China Voice: Japan stands at crossroads

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-10 13:48

One of Japan's five national newspapers, the Sankei Shimbun, has even carried so-called testimonies of veterans denying their heinous atrocities, with one headline reading that Nanjing in December 1937 was an "empty city with no army or residents". In fact Nanjing was a city where more than 300,000 people were murdered by the invaders.

In the decades following WWII, Japan earned the respect of the world as a peace-loving nation, and its tremendous economic contribution to the United Nations is globally recognized. If the current government continues to stack up threats to regional security, this international goodwill, accumulated by generations of Japanese leaders, will be dust in the wind.

The Japanese government should be reasonable regarding security policy. Let us not forget that the war Japan launched and lost was also disastrous for its own citizens, millions of whom were killed.

Adopting a responsible attitude to history would help the Japanese government weigh its current policy and its future, in the perspective of the whole of Asia.

Earlier this month, President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea urged Japan to be courageous and sincere in its treatment of history. The 50 years that have passed since Seoul and Tokyo forged diplomatic ties should have made Japan a more mature partner, she said. There should be no discrepancies in a shared history.

As the Chinese economy heads toward a service orientated economy, more focused on high-end manufacturing, many trading partners stand to benefit, not least Japan.

More importantly, friendly exchanges between China and Japan are the mainstay of relations which span more than 2,000 years. Last year, more than 2.4 million Chinese tourists visited Japan, a very substantial increase from previous years. In November, the two agreed to resume political, diplomatic and security dialogues.

Now is the perfect time for Japan to improve relations with China, but this can only take place in ambience without fear, on a road of peaceful development.

The choice is down to Japan: Will the nation opt, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi put it on Sunday, to honestly bear "the burden of history", or will the denial continue?

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