National / Politics

Japan regrets absence of reference to reconciliation in Xi speech


Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has described as “extremely regrettable” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s failure to refer to reconciliation with Japan during a speech on the sidelines of a military parade in Beijing on Thursday.

“We had requested that this (Thursday’s) event (to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II) include elements of reconciliation between Japan and China, not a so-called anti-Japan feature,” Suga said at a news conference on the same day.

Suga cited a history of friendship between the two countries since normalization of diplomatic ties in 1972 and two rounds of talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi in November last year and April this year.

“But President Xi Jinping made no reference to such elements. I think it was extremely regrettable,” the top government spokesman said.

Speaking at a separate news conference, Katsuya Okada, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, expressed a similar view.

“As a Japanese national, I found it regrettable. I would like (China) to take into account cooperation and confidence Japan and China have achieved over 70 years after the war,” Okada said.

Suga said Japan expected China to go ahead with a planned cut to its armed forces of 300,000 personnel, as announced earlier in the day by Xi, in a highly transparent manner.

“We would like to expect that China will cut the number of People’s Liberation Army troops with high transparency,” he said. “The Japanese government has been strongly demanding that China enhance transparency in its military power.”

Suga also said Japan found it “extremely regrettable” that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attended the military parade at Tiananmen Square, site of the Chinese government’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

“Our country has been saying the United Nations, which has more than 190 member states, should be neutral, and that it should not focus on a specific period of the past involving member states,” he said.

“The United Nations should take a future-oriented position with a view to promote harmony and development of the international community, including freedom, human rights and the rule of law.”

Earlier Thursday, Suga told reporters, “We think China should not excessively focus on its unfortunate past history but show its intention to tackle common issues facing the international community with a view to the future. We have conveyed our position.”