Senior Chinese leader urges Abe to admit wartime mistakes


China’s fourth highest-ranking leader, Yu Zhengsheng, said Friday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs to more readily admit Tokyo’s past militarism and voiced dissatisfaction with his recent remarks ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“For China’s culture, what is important is an ex post facto reflection,” Yu said in a meeting with a group of lawmakers from Japan’s ruling party in Beijing, one attendee said.

“If Japan does not feel sorry for having caused tremendous misfortune to other countries, we have no choice but to show concern that it may repeat the same mistakes,” former Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga, who led the group, quoted him as saying.

Yu, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said he is “discontented” with Abe’s speeches last month in Jakarta and the United States, because they did not touch much on Japan’s wartime aggression and the suffering it inflicted on China and elsewhere, Nukaga said.

In the two speeches, including one to the U.S. Congress, Abe expressed “deep remorse” over the war but stopped short of offering an explicit apology for Japan’s actions during the conflict. He also did not mention the words “colonial rule” and “aggression,” which were used in apologies issued by Japan’s previous governments.

China perceives that Japan has not done enough to atone for its atrocities before and during World War II, and is concerned that Abe may water down Tokyo’s past apologies in a statement he is due to issue on the occasion of the 70th anniversary this summer.

Yu said this year is important and China wants “Japan to properly face history, show the right attitude about historical understanding and grab a chance for itself,” according to Nukaga, who attended a news conference with more than a dozen members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Yu expressed a desire to visit Japan, but for that to happen, he said, he must wait to see what Abe will say in his anniversary statement, Nukaga said.

Nukaga said he told Yu that Abe has repeatedly promised to uphold “the position on the recognition of history” outlined by previous administrations in its entirety, and believes that his statement will be well-received by the international community.

Despite addressing hot-button wartime historical issues, the meeting was conducted in a “calm atmosphere,” Nukaga said, adding that Yu praised the two countries’ progress in mending their frosty relations in recent months and said it is necessary for both sides to make further efforts.

The meeting at the Great Hall of the People, which lasted about an hour, took place amid an increase in high-level exchanges between Japan and China, although diplomatic disagreements over territory and history remain unresolved.

Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks, the second in the past five months, two weeks ago on the sidelines of a regional conference in Jakarta.

At that time, Abe and Xi agreed to prevent the disagreements from impairing the overall relationship between Japan and China and to encourage exchanges in various fields.

The atmosphere of Abe’s meeting with Xi, according to a Japanese official who was at the scene, was far friendlier than their brief first one in November.

Just two days before the intraparty group’s meeting with Yu, senior lawmakers from Japan’s ruling and opposition parties held talks with Zhang Dejiang, ranked third in the Communist Party of China’s powerful seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, and shared the perception that bilateral ties are gradually improving.

The intraparty group has its roots in an LDP faction of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka (1918-1993), who played an active role in achieving the 1972 normalization of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Beijing.

  • Richard Solomon

    I think that hell would have to freeze over before Abe would give the Chinese the kind of apology for Japan’s WW II atrocities in Nanking that the Chinese would find acceptable. Their claims are understandable. But they are also using them as leverage with which they can hold Abe off balance while he tries to ‘improve relations.’

    How/when will this ‘dance’ ever end?!? Maybe Abe should go to Nanking, bow down, and tearfully apologize to the Chinese people. That is what Willy Brandt did as Chancellor of Germany as part of their reconciliation with its former European enemies. Does Above have the courage to do that? Hardly!!

  • Japanese Bull Fighter

    Willy Brandt did not “bow down,” he genuflected at a monument to the Warsaw ghetto uprising. His action was very unpopular in Germany at the time.

    His action was not part of any overall “reconciliation with its former European enemies.” Germany was divided at the time. The GDR (aka East Germany) never accepted responsibility for anything and never made an effort to “reconcile” with anyone.

    The Warsaw ghetto uprising was an element in the Holocaust, the effort to exterminate the Jews. Japan had no such comparable program for the Chinese or anyone else. Although the Chinese like to forget it, there was a government in China led by Wang Ching Wei that collaborated with the Japanese much as the Vichy regime in France collaborated with the Germans.

    The Japanese were certainly brutal in their treatment of Chinese who were resisting as the US was with Vietnamese on the wrong side during the Vietnam war but they had no German-style extermination program. Chinese who experienced Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan were and are remarkably pro-Japanese as are those from what the Japanese called Manshu (Manchuria) when they controlled that area.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Particularly the Japanese participants on this site pit the history debate as one between undifferentiated Chinese and Koreans against Japanese. In reality there is a raging debate within Japan as well. In one dimension we have a progressive set of intellectuals like Oe and Murakami and a host of others, particularly in the older teaching ranks, against the likes of Sakurai Yoshiko and Tamogami and folks in and related to the Sankei Shimbun. Then there is the media confrontation between the Mainichi and Asahi and aligned weekly and monthly journals against the Yomiuri and Sankei and their aligned journals. Even within the LDP, we have the folks like Nukaga who have been involved in constructive ties with China and/or Korea and then we have Abe, Shimomura, Shindo, Takaichi, Arimura, and their ilk — throw Suga into this bunch, too — with Kantei drinking buddies thrown in.

    That debate continues, and will play itself out over constitutional revision but with some play on the relationship with neighbors.

    We should look at the Nukaga-Yu conversation and others like it in this context.

  • timefox

    Chinese traitor hunting
    Kankan(Chinese traitor) is a traitor of Chinese. During Sino-Japanese War, a large number Kankan hunting is carried out have been massacred.

    Yellow River flood
    Yellow River outburst incident is a civilian massacre by the Chinese army, which took place in June 1938 during Sino-Japanese War. Chinese military destroyed the Yellow River dam in order to stop the Japanese military advance. This dam destruction, hundreds of thousands of victims came out. In addition, issues an enormous damage to crops, was plagued Chinese. Japanese troops helped the Chinese people suffering from floods that Chinese military has caused, but the Chinese military, which saw it attacked the Japanese forces rather than help the Chinese.

    Changsha Fire
    Changsha conflagration is during the day November 13, 1938 during Sino-Japanese War, is the incident that the Chinese military had set fire to the Hunan Changsha. Changsha was a city of population 500,000, was destroyed most of the city by fire. Tens of thousands of Chinese were killed.

    Tonghua incident
    Tonghua incident and are massacres that occurred in Manchuria, which was occupied by Chinese troops on February 3, 1946 . Chinese military and the Korean army massacred the Japanese and Chinese.

    Tongzhou incident
    The Tongzhou incident, the massacre that occurred in Tongzhou on July 29, 1937. China army massacre and attacked the Japanese. Women of the Japanese are killed is almost rape, murder methods bizarre thing there were many. It is a case that became Nanjing massacre of model China claims . Nanjing massacre and the Nanjing incident different.

    Nanjing Incident
    Nanjing incident, assault incident that Chinese military in March 1927 occurred when occupied Nanjing. Chinese military has attacked foreign consulates and denizen, including Japan.

  • BlackC#Bro

    The only one we have to fear committing WW2 style atrocities with their insane foreign policy is China.

    A militarized Japan makes for a much safer world than an insane militarized China.