Nanjing blasts Japanese mayor for denying 1937 massacre

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2012, 12:00am


The Nanjing government yesterday admonished as 'irresponsible' a Japanese mayor who, while hosting a delegation from the northeastern Chinese city, denied that the wartime atrocities known as the rape of Nanking took place.

Nanjing issued its rebuke to Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura even as its own delegation came under fire for failing to immediately challenge the mayor's contention during their visit on Monday to the central Japanese city. The rebuttal struck some as an attempt at damage control.

Nanjing said in a statement issued through official media early yesterday that irrefutable evidence existed to prove that the 'historical facts of the Nanking massacre by Japanese invaders could not be denied'.

'What you've said is irresponsible because you have distorted the history and showed disrespect to the people of Nanjing,' the statement said.

The Japanese Kyodo News reported that the 63-year-old Nagoya mayor said he believed that only 'conventional acts of combat' took place in 1937 when imperial Japanese troops captured the city then known as Nanking - not the mass murder of at least 150,000 civilians and the rape of tens of thousands of woman.

Kawamura cited as evidence reports that Nanjing residents were 'kind to Japanese soldiers only eight years after the incident' and offered to travel to the city to debate the issue.

Nanjing's publicity department did not respond to media inquiries about its delegation, which was led by Liu Zhiwei, a member of the local Standing Committee of the Communist Party. Liu reportedly smiled, and shook hands with the mayor while exchanging gifts.

Mainland media offered few details about the meeting. Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, however, reported that the lack of an immediate rebuke triggered outrage online, especially in forums on nationalistic portals, such as, with some commenters dubbing Liu a traitor and calling for his dismissal.

One participant in a forum on criticised Liu for not demanding an apology or calling off the meeting. Japan felt it 'can disregard history again and again without fear of consequences', the writer said.

'This is why people are bullied if they're too nice.'