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On the 68th anniversary of China's victory in the war against Japanese aggression, historians, veterans and curators of six key Sino-Japanese war museums in China have gathered together in Beijing. The reason for their gathering is to make a joint statement for the first time, condemning Japan’s attempts to deny its war crimes.
Grey haired veterans became visibly emotional at a ceremony in Beijing today to mark the 68th anniversary of China’s victory over fascism, as they recalled their struggle against the invasion of Japanese troops over 70 years ago.
Zuo Taibei, Daughter of General Zuo Quan, said, "Our hope is that everyone can enjoy a peaceful and happy life in their own country, we want peace. Every time Japan’s government attempts to distort history, I want to ask them why and what they want, do they wish to return and invade again? Their attempts would be a total failure."
An estimated 20 million Chinese died during this epic struggle of resistance against Japanese aggression in a war that also produced a staggering 80 million to 100 million refugees. Despite the onslaught of Japan’s modern military machine for eight long years, China put up a heroic fight, weakening Japanese aggressors by inflicting heavy casualties on them. The official number of Japanese soldiers killed in China between 1937 and 1945 is 1,500,000.
Japan’s leaders have expressed “remorse” over the physical damage and psychological pain the country’s military inflicted on other Asian countries during World War II. But repeated visits by cabinet ministers to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo and growing talk of revising the nation’s pacifist constitution have made neighbouring countries skeptical of Japan’s intentions.
Shen Qiang, curator of Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression, said, “We firmly condemn attempts by Japan’s ring-wing to distort history and downplay wartime atrocities. We strongly urge Japan to face up to history and convince its neighbours in Asia of its genuine remorse, through actions.”
Reporter: “Leaders of Japan are trying to return the country to center stage after more than a decade in the wings, by reviving Japan’s economy. But reopening old wounds right across East Asia by rewriting history can achieve nothing but resentment.”
Tokyo’s move to assert ownership over the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea last year, predictably triggered outrage in China. Chinese demonstrators launched boycotts of Japanese companies and badly damaged sales of Japanese brands in China. In September alone, Toyota and Honda’s year-on-year sales in China fell 49 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. And the adverse economic effects continue to be felt in Japan.
Li Zongyuan, deputy curator & Japan specialist, said, “Bad bilateral relations are not good for China, but they’re much worse for Japan, which depends heavily on access to China’s huge consumer market. The days of the hot economy amid cold politics are gone forever.”
Also, Japan should not rely on protection from the US and needs to leave behind this outdated policy of “embracing the West over Asia”. It needs to become a real partner of its Asian neighbors.
However, with the wrong attitude to history, Japan will find its future path a bumpy one.