Visiting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji stated Saturday that Japan has never officially apologized to the Chinese people for its wartime aggression and said he wants the Japanese people to consider that fact.

In conversations with Japanese citizens on a TBS television program, Zhu said the decision of whether to apologize or not is one for the Japanese people and that China will not keep demanding apologies from Japan — but, he added, “We want you to consider that.”

Zhu was answering a question from a 51-year-old man from Hiroshima Prefecture, who asked how many times Japan would have to apologize to China.

In the meeting between Zhu and Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Friday, Zhu, in an apparent attempt to boost China’s standing in the eyes of the Japanese public, emphasized building a future by learning from history.

“This time, I am not demanding that Japan apologize and I am being criticized for that from China,” Zhu said.

Zhu held that an official statement in 1995 by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, in which Japan expressed “deep remorse and heartfelt apology,” does not qualify as an apology to the Chinese people as it was directed in general terms to Asian people.

“Japan has never apologized to the Chinese people in any of the official documents,” he said.

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