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Japan needs to face up to its history

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

10-16-2015 17:24 BJT

By Li Kun, Commentator of CNTV

Even though economic and people-to-people communications between China and Japan have been strengthened, Sino-Japanese relations remain at a low ebb due to unresolved historical issues between the two countries.

In the past two thousand years, folk exchanges between the two countries have been friendly even during difficult times. Nearly 400,000 mainland Chinese tourists traveled to

Japan in the most recent Chinese National Day holiday. Meanwhile, over 3,000 Japanese sightseeing and cultural-exchange delegates visited China on May 22.

In Nov. 2014, China, Japan and South Korea announced an official launch of FTA negotiations. This year the eighth round of negotiations on the FTA was held in Beijing from Sept. 24 to 25,  with some positive progress.


Binhai Forum

Yukio Hatoyama, former Japanese Prime Minister, on Oct.14 attended the Binhai Forum on Peace and Development in Northeast Asia, China’s Tianjing Municipality. He said Japan should play a more positive role in FTA negotiations as compared to their joining of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).



Yukio Hatoyama

However, since historical problems have not been resolved, cold politics and warm economy exchanges have become the routine for China and Japan.

Right-wing Japanese have espoused wrong historical views. They vilified UNESCO as unfair and threatened to stop funding for the organization. They even sought to block China's efforts to apply to list documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre on the memory of the World Register.

Hatoyama said Japan as the injuring party should not place obstacles on China’s UNESCO application. Nevertheless, UNESCO approved China’s application based on international common sense. Japanese society should realize this problem and stay humble. 

Hatoyama said that wars waged by the Japanese army had taken many Chinese people’s lives. It is meaningless for some Japanese to get entangled over the number of 300,000 casualties in the Nanjing Massacre. Even if they killed just one Chinese person, they had committed a crime and should apologize and take historical responsibility for it.

Tokyo has not faced up to its history, which have increased bilateral tensions.

Tokyo and Beijing should ease tensions. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on Oct.13 met his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo. Hatoyama said Yang’s visit to Japan would encourage summit meetings among China, Japan, and South Korea. Accordingly, some progress has already been achieved.

Perhaps more folk contacts can alleviate tense Sino-Japanese relations. Beijing and Tokyo should strengthen folk exchanges and encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Japan and learn Japanese culture.

It is also essential for the Chinese and Japanese youth to meet each other more often. Hopefully, such folk cooperation can enhance the fields of education, culture, economy for the sake of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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