• Kyodo

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China said Saturday its acceptance of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s proposed visit to Beijing depends on whether Japan takes real action to restore the trust of the people of Asian countries victimized by Japanese aggression in the last century.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao told Kyodo News that China is looking for Japan to show by deeds that it respects past stances taken by Japan toward the issues of history and that it intends to carry out relevant promises made in the past.

While Zhu did not elaborate, he appeared to be suggesting that Koizumi would have to state at the summit his acknowledgment of Japan’s wartime actions and promise not to again pay homage as prime minister at Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine.

Koizumi’s visit to the shrine on Aug. 13 prompted China’s Foreign Ministry to issue a statement saying the move “breaks representations and promises the Japanese government has made regarding historical problems.”

Koizumi on Friday instructed the Japanese Foreign Ministry to arrange his visits to China and South Korea before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Shanghai in mid-October.

The visits are an apparent attempt to repair relations soured by the shrine visit and by the Japanese government’s approval in April of a controversial junior high school history textbook authored by a group of nationalist scholars. China and South Korea say the book distorts history and glosses over the atrocities that Japanese troops committed during the war.

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