Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka criticized some foreign media entities Wednesday for misunderstanding and falsely reporting his remarks during Chinese President Jiang Zemin’s visit last week.

“An English newspaper misunderstood my remarks, and they were also reported falsely in a Chinese newspaper,” Nonaka told a regular news conference. “I feel perplexed and disappointed by the fact that the totally opposite import from what I meant has been reported.”

The two nations’ bitter past was a focus of Jiang’s historic visit to Tokyo. Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and Jiang announced a joint declaration, but the declaration failed to include Japan’s apology to China.

A Nov. 28 edition of the Financial Times ran a story headlined “Japan blames ‘small group’ for its war record in China.”

The newspaper reported that Nonaka claimed that only a small group of militarists were responsible for Japan’s aggression in China during the war. He was also quoted as saying, “Isn’t this a finished problem?”

The Dec. 1 edition of the China Daily called Nonaka’s comments “preposterous remarks,” and wrote they show that “Japan has not drawn adequate lessons from the war.”

At Wednesday’s news conference, Nonaka said he was misunderstood during an earlier press briefing, where he had relayed remarks made by Jiang during talks with Obuchi last week.

According to Nonaka, Jiang said some people say that Japan’s wartime history has already been resolved, but that period should not be forgotten and it should form the foundation for friendship between Japan and China.

“I have said that the unfortunate period should not be forgotten,” Nonaka said.

MITI to query China about indirect cotton exports>

Tokyo will remind Beijing to keep tabs on its exports of certain cotton fabrics to Japan, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry reassured the textile industry Wednesday, according to MITI officials.

The pledge was made by a senior MITI official during a meeting between ministry officials, including trade chief Kaoru Yosano, and representatives of textile and apparel businesses. “Although overall cotton fabric imports directly from China have slowed, an increasing proportion of the Chinese material is being imported via third regions,” a MITI official quoted Saburo Takizawa, chairman of Japan Textile Federation and Toyobo Co., as telling Yosano.

Takizawa asked Yosano to urge China to better deal with its voluntary restraint on cotton fabric exports to Japan to prevent exporters from using such loopholes as indirect export routes.

To prepare for a possible onslaught of imports, the business leaders called on Yosano to review ways for the government to put into effect safeguards as agreed by the World Trade Organization.

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