China greets Japan PM with a bitter reproach
Wednesday 03 May 1995
Hours before the official visit, intended to cement Sino-Japanese relations on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, the Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper published a page-long account, complete with photographs, of the Imperial Army's invasion of China in 1937.
"More than 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed," the People's Daily reminded its readers. "China's direct economic losses totalled $100bn. When commemorating the 50th anniversary of World War Two, the people must conscientiously summarise history's experience and prevent the revival of militarism and Nazism."
Mr Murayama did not need reminding. His five-day visit was intended as the centrepiece of efforts to improve Japan's relations with its Asian neighbours and trading partners. But his meetings with President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Li Peng, and discussions of Japanese investment in China and concerns about Peking's burgeoning military expenditure have been overshadowed by the recurrent subject of the war.
Personally, Mr Murayama has no problem with saying sorry. "It is important to face up to the unbearable pain and sorrow caused to many people by Japan's aggressive actions," he told Japanese reporters before catching his flight. Entente with Japan's former enemies and opposition to military involvement overseas were key platforms of Mr Murayama's Social Democratic Party, before its absorption last summer into a coalition with the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). High on his itinerary is a penitential visit to Marco Polo Bridge near Peking, across which the Japanese Imperial Army swarmed in 1937.
The difficulty lies with his LDP partners. For weeks, Mr Murayama has been vainly trying to forge a resolution in the Diet (parliament) formally renouncing aggression and apologising for wartime atrocities. "Japanese colonial rule and aggression are historical facts," he declared last week.
But far from uniting Japan in a common act of amity, the resolution has galvanised a vocal minority of elderly revisionists stubbornly opposed to any concession of Japanese wrong-doing. A parliamentary league of 206 LDP politicians has revived the old argument that Japan's wartime actions were motivated not by expansionist greed but by the wish to liberate Asia from Western imperialism. "I firmly believe that the Great East Asian War was fought to save Asian countries from the white man," Seisuke Ono, the 81-year-old former education minister, declared recently. "Japanese have been brainwashed into believing they started the war."
The resolution has been put on ice until after Mr Murayama's visit - a watered down version will probably emerge before the anniversary of Japan's surrender in August. Last week, five Chinese victims of the Japanese invasion began private law suits demanding $1m compensation from the Japanese government. For Mr Murayama, the subject is not going to go away.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...
£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...