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  • Aug 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:08pm

Sino-Japanese relations

The relationship between the two largest economies in Asia has been marred throughout the 20th century due to territorial and political disputes including Taiwanese sovereignty; the invasion of China by Japan in the second world war and Japan’s subsequent refusal to acknowledge the extent of its war crimes; territorial disputes surrounding the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands and associated fishing rights and energy resources; and Japanese-American security co-operation.   


China ‘releases Japanese wartime documents’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 April, 2014, 2:21pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 April, 2014, 2:21pm

China has released previously confidential Japanese wartime documents, including some about comfort women forced to serve in military brothels during the second world war, state media reported.

The publication comes during a fraught period in Japan-China relations. Last week, Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd paid about US$29 million for the release of a ship seized by China over a dispute that dates back to the 1930s war between the two countries.

The 89 documents released from archives in northern Jilin province include letters written by Japanese soldiers, newspaper articles, and military files unearthed in the early 1950s, state media said. Why they had not been released until now was not immediately clear.

Nationalist politicians in Japan have been urging Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to water down a 1993 apology to “comfort women”. These politicians have said there is no evidence of large scale coercion by government authorities or the military.

Abe said last month that Tokyo would not revise this apology.

The Jilin documents include Japanese records on the exploitation of “comfort women” by troops as well as details of the Nanjing Massacre that began in December 1937.

China and Japan disagree on the number of people killed in the massacre. Some nationalist Japanese politicians have argued that the reports about the massacre have been exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Many of Japan’s wartime records were destroyed.

The documents’ release coincided with the publication on Saturday of more than 110,000 previously confidential Japanese government and military documents from times of war by China’s Thread Binding Books Publishing House.

History is a live issue between Japan and China. In a speech in Berlin last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that the atrocities in Nanjing were “still fresh in our memory”. His comments prompted an angry response from the Japanese government.

Last December, Abe provoked China’s ire when he visited Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, where both war dead and war criminals are honoured. Last week, more than 150 Japanese lawmakers and a member of Abe’s cabinet paid their respects at Yasukuni.

Territorial disputes also dog the relationship. These are centred on a string of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea the Chinese call the Diaoyu islands and Japanese call the Senkaku islands.

However, there are signs of warmth amidst the chill as well. Last week, Tokyo governor Yoichi Masuzoe visited Beijing, meeting with China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang and former top Chinese diplomat Tang Jiaxuan and passing on a message from Abe that he hoped bilateral ties would improve.

That visit followed a trip to Japan in early April by Hu Deping, the son of late reformist Chinese leader Hu Yaobang. Hu met with several senior statesmen. His visit included a confidential meeting with Prime Minister Abe.


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This article is now closed to comments

Max Diethelm
The evidence against Japanese barbarism and massive war crimes are solid and was already used to convict the Class A war criminals like Tojo who was subsequently hanged. The Japanese being barbaric and uncivilised have up to today not repented for their terrible crimes. Shinzo Abe continues to be provocative by praying to war criminals at the Yasukuni War Shrine. Divine retribution will result in a massive earthquake which will destroy the Yasukuni War Shrine.
all japanese dream about is a political&military release from post-WWII american cramping, not bother playing chinese card
Japan would say these documents are fabricated, just as they say Nanjing massacre is a makeup story.
Reliving wartime atrocities of WWII some 70 to 80 years ago may be of historic interests, dealing with today's issues in an open and fair manner seems much more relevant. Let not political interests of certain groups overwhelm the lives of the many in China. Leadership from Beijing need to address eminent concerns of Chinese citizens, focusing on
1) the shameful disparity in economic wealth and opportunity for social advancement between the top 20% and the great majority living at or near the subsistence level in China today
2) ecological disaster of air, safe drinking water and habitable land
3) endemic and systematic corruption pervasive across all of China
4) the formation of a representative government that is accountable to its citizens and responsive to their needs.
It's obvious that promoting ultra-nationalism is but a faint and temporary distraction from Chinese true and pressing concerns!
It's much easier to criticize others' mistakes than to fix your own. Simple as that.
Rambo, The part of YOUR mind that produced the statement: "The Japanese are an evil people without a future." is barbaric. Barbarism is alive in you. Statements like this are the cause of war and barbaric actions.
Jonathan Smith
Rambo calls a spade a spade. There I nothing wrong calling the Japanese barbaric with no future because the Japanese have committed too much crimes against humanity and Japanese leaders are revisionist and recalcitrant behaving much like their evil ancestors. So don't kid yourself.
And I suppose ALL Japanese even down to the last child even that was born just today is guilty?
What a load of garbage.
Scmp or any media ... Pls refer back to dao phooy reference on comfort women....correction is due. It's SEX SLAVE..period
They were sex slaves not 'comfort women'! Using this euphemism helps the Japanese revisionists maintain the big lie it's policy of enslavement of women was simply part of the war.




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