BEIJING – A Chinese nongovernmental organization has sent a letter to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for an apology to the victims of a wartime massacre almost 80 years ago and compensation, the group’s president said Monday.
The China Federation of Demanding Compensation from Japan said the letter coincided with a new commemoration day on Saturday to mark the 1937 massacre of civilians by Japanese forces in the city now known as Nanjing. The commemoration day was created as part of Beijing’s campaign to remind the world of past Japanese aggression because of what it calls renewed militarism by the country.
“We used to demand an apology in general terms. But this is the first time a Chinese NGO has specifically demanded the Japanese government apologize for the 300,000 victims of the Nanjing massacre,” the Beijing-based group’s president, Tong Zeng, told reporters. “A month ago, it suddenly dawned on me that we should do this.”
Tong said the group sent the letter to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing last week. An embassy press officer said the letter was received but had no further information.
Historians say what is known as the Nanking Massacre resulted in the slaughter of at least 150,000 civilians. China puts the number killed at 300,000, making it one of the worst atrocities of the World War II era. Many Chinese feel Japan has failed to adequately apologize for its brutal World War II occupation of much of their country.
Tong said his was a loosely organized group with more than 100 informal event organizers across China.
Relations between the two countries have worsened in the past couple of years over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and various historical disagreements.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5