Japan protests China paper’s map of atomic clouds


Japan lodged a protest Wednesday with China over a newspaper’s depiction of exploding mushroom clouds in a map of Japan, calling it offensive.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan, as the only nation to have suffered atomic attacks, will “never tolerate” such a depiction. It was “extremely imprudent” of the newspaper, he said. “And it rattled the nerves of atomic bomb survivors and their families.”

The Chongqing Youth News carried a full-page color map of Japan, with the cartoon drawing of an exploding mushroom cloud over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a title saying “Japan wants a war again.” In the map, the green Japanese archipelago on the blue background was marked with the names of the two cities and Tokyo, in both English and Chinese.

It was unclear if the map was an advertisement or a graphic meant to accompany a commentary on the following page. The commentary, titled “Have we been too friendly to Japan in the past?” criticized Tokyo’s decision to allow Japan’s military to use force to defend its allies, an action previously banned as unconstitutional.

The newspaper was published on July 3, two days after Japan reinterpreted its war-renouncing Constitution to allow a greater role for its military.

A man identifying himself only by his surname, Zhang, who answered the phone at the editors’ office of the Chongqing Youth News, said the paper had no comment on the matter. The paper is run by the city of Chongqing’s branch of the Communist Youth League, an organization that grooms university students for roles in the Communist Party.

Japan lodged protests to Beijing and the government of Chongqing, where the weekly paper is based. Tokyo also protested to the paper the day before. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is from Hiroshima, called the paper’s allegation groundless and said Japan’s defense policy change is not intended to wage war.

The two Asian rivals are major economic and trade partners, but have been disputed over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea and wartime history. Relations worsened in December after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a Tokyo war shrine that honors Japan’s convicted war criminals along with the nation’s 2.5 million war dead.

At Wednesday’s news conference, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei refused to comment directly on the map, while repeating Beijing’s position, saying recent Japanese actions have raised concerns among its Asian neighbors that suffered under Japan’s wartime aggression. He criticized Japan for repeatedly creating provocations over historical issues.

“We hope Japan can learn lessons from history, go down the path of peaceful development, and avoid the repetition of historical tragedies,” he said.

In the closing days of World War II, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, ultimately killing 140,000 people, and a second one on Nagasaki three days later, killing another 90,000, prompting Japan’s surrender.

  • Yamatosenkan

    This is the result of three decades of anti-Japanese education and propaganda in China. It is also not the first time. Chinese newspapers regularly call for war against Japan and threaten nuclear annihilation. At times, stores in Shanghai and other cities have put up signs saying “No dogs and Japanese allowed.”

    • Guest

      I posted the first reply thirty minutes ago and was told to “HOLD ON WAITING FOR APPROVAL”. Then about fifteen minutes later I posted a second message. Now another ten minutes passed. Could you please make clear how long normally is this HOLD ON request? Or JT doesn’t welcome Chinese posting here? I hope you don’t cause misunderstanding which is a pity indeed. I have been reading your news for quite some time. Even in most mainland Chinese news portal it doesn’t take so long to “Hold on for approval”. If you don’t want to post my message, just say it. Pretending “under review” but indeed have rejected is not professional.

      • axia

        Hi JapanTimes, I am sorry I was in a rush and did not realize my discuz account needs to be verified first. Misunderstanding. And a bit worried for not having my post published here because what Yamatosenkan has written is truly misleading.

  • Yamatosenkan

    Thanks for explaining your position in detail, and for pointing out many Chinese in their 40’s and 50’s grew up with more positive feelings.

    I do agree that visiting the Yasukuni shrine can be seen as provocative, but I don’t agree with your analysis that this is a reflection of Japan’s idea that it was a victor in the war in China. The truth is that in Japanese people’s minds, the Yasukuni shrine has little or nothing to do with China. It is all about appeasing the souls of those who died for the country, even if they have committed crimes, for which they paid. Hence it is not “worshipping war criminals.” Where or whom they fought doesn’t matter. Most people simply ignore the war in China and think about the war in SE-Asia and with the United States.

    Also, to go back to topic, anti-Japanese education in China started in Japan in the 1970’s and 1980’s, well before Koizumi’s visits of the 2000’s. Also, Chinese TV shows a constant barrage of anti-Japanese war movies, and schoolkids have to watch these. So the anti-Japanese riots started only in the 2000’s, not incidentally when the first generation of Chinese who have been thoroughly steeped in nationalist “patriotic” and anti-Japanese thought were old enough to riot.