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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May 2005, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
China Japan meeting: Your views
Chinese Protestors
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged Japan to "seriously reflect" on its wartime history and back up the apologies with action.

Mr Hu made the comments after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in private at the Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta. He also said the dispute should be resolved through dialogue.

The row between the two countries began when Tokyo approved new school textbooks that China says gloss over Japan's wartime aggression.

What do you think of the meeting? Will it resolve the crisis?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Jonathan Owen, England (former resident in China)
As the diplomatic tensions seemingly become more tenuous between Japan and China, how will this row end?

China and Japan both are Asian superpowers. Their good relationship is needed for the betterment of the whole Asian region. The current issue needs to be settled through the round table in order to sustain long-term relationship. This is not a big issue.
Pushpa Ghimire, Nepal (from Japan)

When have textbooks not been biased? Look at Christopher Columbus, some countries praise him while some despise him. The state of Texas creates its own textbooks that play down the theory of evolution. There are countless other examples. It is the same with Japan and China they create textbooks to reflect their national interest and pride. I feel the reaction is completely out of control.
Christopher Southerlin, Anchorage, AK, US

The Chinese have a valid point. Japan did commit war crimes atrocities during World War II. However, the war has been over for 60 years. Japan is no longer the same militaristic country that it was in WWII anymore than Germany is. While it's wrong for Japan to whitewash its history, it's equally wrong for China to nurture old hatreds against the Japanese. The Japanese should acknowledge their WWII history and the Chinese should acknowledge Japan's peaceful progress since WWII.
Greg, Philadelphia, USA

I think this problem is going to be continued because the essence of this problem is that China is communism and autocracy. I'm worried about South Korea more than China. Because they are continuing to keep the single knowledge of history although they are a liberal democratic country.
Yasuaki Shikinami, Saitama prefecture, Japan

Japan must reflect on its wartime history
Sunu Lawi, Johor, Malaysia
The demonstration against the Japanese textbook has not just taken place in China, but also in Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea. But because these countries have small economic relations with Japan, Japan does not care about voices from these countries. On the other hand, China speaks for the rest of Asia, or else Japanese crimes against the whole of Asia would continue to be buried and forgotten, we can forgive, but we cannot forget, millions of victims were all over the Asia, some are still alive and suffering. Even though Japan gave ODA (loan) to many Asian countries, that does not mean Japan has the power to change history or approved textbooks which show a lack of balance. Japan must reflect on its wartime history, not only for China, but also for Malaysia, Korea, and other Asian countries.
Sunu Lawi, Johor, Malaysia

I have personally read China's history textbooks and all its propaganda. Mao's Great Leap Forward that killed millions of their own civilians and the invasion of Tibet are all 'forgotten'. The youth in China need to read neutral history books before going out into the streets to bash Japanese restaurants and shops that are most probably owned by the Chinese.
Sandra, Singapore

I am so appalled to read the comments that Chinese has got no right for justice because of the government's history. This is the same as saying that if the parent is abusive, then the kid cannot ask for justice from the neighbour who had attacked and raped her/him.
Leslie, Toronto, Canada

Of course Japan gave lots of pain to north east Asians throughout history. I'm also angry about Japan's action when it comes to talking about history distortion. But before I blame Japan, I have something to talk to the Chinese government. If they claim sovereignty of East China and adjustment about history, they should give Manchuria to Korea and stop writing wrong history about Korea. What I can see through Chinese is just hypocrisy.
Kim Min-Choel, Pyungchon, South Korea

I think Japan should stop portraying World War II from the victim's perspective and face responsibilities
Hirakawa, Japanese living in Boston, USA
I represent a minority voice as a Japanese but I think Japan should stop portraying World War II from the victim's perspective and face responsibilities. Regardless of whether you approve of what the Chinese government says or does, the crimes committed by Japan in the past are wrong, and many Asian countries, including China, deserve an acknowledgment from the Japanese government for that.
Hirakawa, Japanese living in Boston, USA

Changing your history textbooks to alter history is not telling the truth, visiting the shrines of Japanese "war heroes" who committed such atrocities is not a sincere apology and demanding justice for the dead is not wrong.
Lester Lee, UK

At China and Japan's top meeting, China was not going to discuss the history issue nor the anti-Japan demonstrations in China, but rather they proposed five issues to Japan which included China's request that Japan withdraw from supporting Taiwan. What sort of political game is this?
Noriko, Tokyo, Japan

The stormy protests in China are nearly over. The message is that Japan will never get a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as long as China has the veto. We are back to square one. Nothing has changed as for the Sino-Japanese relationship. The basic tune of this relationship is still antagonistic.
John, London, Canada

The Japanese apology is nothing more than sheer repetition
Damien Long, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Japanese apology is nothing more than sheer repetition of past Japanese PM words of hollow remorse that lacks sincerity. The visits by Japanese lawmakers to the shrine and the justifications of its own textbook revision by diverting the issue further by condemning Chinese texts as extreme were not very helpful. Why utter sorry when you cannot match it with sincere deeds?
Damien Long, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

No, China and Japan will never get along. Just look at what has happened for the past thousand years, the answer is so simple.
Ford, New Zealand

I want everybody here to make a positive and rational discussion based on the accurate information. In Yasukuni Shrine, more than two million soldiers rest in peace. They are probably the enemy for foreigners. But they lost their lives believing in the Japanese future. That's why not only Japanese but a lot of foreign politicians have prayed there.
Takeshi Mashimane, Osaka, Japan

I see a lot of similarity between what China is doing now and what Japan did in the time leading to World War II; nationalistic education, large military expenditure, and aggression against neighbours. China's selective use of history reminds me of imperial Japan's use of Western colonialism in East Asia as an excuse for its aggression. China seems to think it can get away with anything as long as it keeps bringing up the history.
TI, Knoxviile, TN, USA

When will the Chinese own up to their invasion of Tibet, and the genocide of Tibetans, which continues to the present day? Their faces should burn with the shame of their self-indulgent hypocrisy concerning Japan.
Marl, Bellingham, WA, USA

The Chinese seem to forget not only their past but their present as well. They are ignoring the their own illegal invasion of Tibet and their appalling actions in that region.
Deva, USA

Even if Koizumi stopped visiting the Yasukuni shrine, the Chinese would never stop attacking Japan. For the Chinese, it is just a political tool.
Satoshi, Tokyo, Japan

The Chinese are a corrupt regime - both morally and politically through communism. Their textbooks are fiction; their history on human rights is far worse than Japan's. This is simply a diversionary tactic of the Chinese government.
Dave, Sunnyvale, CA, USA

I think it's a difference of culture
Yoshinori Araki, Osaka, Japan
I think it's a difference of culture. In Japan when a person dies he is supposed to become a particle of Buddha. In Yasukuni all the dead people in the war, including war criminals, have been enshrined. People in Japan don't think it's wrong.
Yoshinori Araki, Osaka, Japan

You don't see the Russians, who lost twenty million citizens, attacking German consulates. Grow up, China.
DJ, Canada

China and Japan should clarify every part of the history between the two countries, in order to inform their people correctly what was actually done by Japan and by China.
Nao, Tokyo, Japan

Trust is earned not given. The Chinese civilization is smart enough to differentiate between different influences and the truth which is said and acted upon. If the Japanese cannot face up the truth now, when else can one expect them to face up in future?
Foo, Singapore

I sincerely agree that conflicts between Japan and China will only adversely affect both, but might benefit a third country like the super powers. We, Chinese and Japanese, are in fact brothers sharing a similar culture and value. It would be tragic to see close siblings fight.
Chris, Hong Kong

Neither side has been rational in this whole historical debate
Andy, USA
Neither side has been rational in this whole historical debate. Japan refuses to reflect deeply. Chinese fanatics attack Japanese cars and restaurants disregarding the fact that the owners may be Chinese. China seems to forget the good deeds that Japan has done for China since the Meiji restoration in regards to education, scholarships, and other funding. This is not to say that Japan is innocent of its wartime aggression. Yet, China should take into account that the only country that did not break relations with China over Tiananmen was Japan.
Andy, USA

So, having forced Japan to make its apology again, we can now presumably look forward to China's Communist Party apologising to the Chinese people for the millions killed from violence and starvation during the 1960s and Great Leap Forward?
John, Fort Lauderdale, USA

Koizumi said the right thing. The world is watching and needs to hear these sorts of statements. I think that there are factions in the Chinese government who are provoking the riots and getting great satisfaction over the stress it is causing.
Lyle Nisenholz, Tokyo Japan

Japan's neighbouring countries don't seem to accept Koizumi's apology. How can they trust what he says when the guy himself visits the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo each year where war criminals are enshrined? This sort of hypocritical behaviour only deepens mistrust.
MJK, Connecticut, U.S.A.

While the public display of Hitler's photo and fascist symbols continue to meet serious global condemnations, why does the global community continue to keep silence when Japanese political leaders continue to pay their respect to war criminals in the Yasukuni? Is that the holocaust is more worth talking than the ripe of Nanking, and millions of civilians killed by the Japanese in East and SE Asia, not to mention the sexual assault to women. How is the Western media claimed themselves to be the fourth branch to balance the ruling power? How do we explain this discrimination in the global community?
Jane Tse, HKSAR, China

We need to work together to make Asia as powerful as possible
Wong, Sydney, Australia
Japan made a lot of mistakes during WWII and China has since WWII, and there will be many more. Let's forgive but not forget. Let's move on from the past and move into the future. This is the new age Asia, we need to work together to make Asia as powerful as possible.
Wong, Sydney, Australia

The Chinese government has been rather hard on Japan for some time, but especially in recent months. Many Japanese consider the Chinese government at least an accessory after the fact in the student attacks on the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai. It is plain to see that the Chinese police aren't overzealous in putting a stop to the vandalism of Japanese property.

More generally, the Japanese are getting tired of the Chinese government's selective use of history. The Chinese government is demanding yet another apology from the Japanese government for the Rape of Nanjing and other acts of Japanese brutality in China before and during World War II.

At the same time, it treats any reference to the more recent and continuing Chinese brutality in Tibet as contrary to the rules of international discourse. Since Tibet has been incorporated into China, what goes on there is an internal matter, and foreigners have no right to discuss it. Many Japanese have lost patience with this one-sided spirit of criticism.
Junji, Osaka, Japan

Words of apology are cheap, even if they were uttered by a Prime Minister
John, London, Canada

The beef between China and Japan is not limited to WWII. Japanese invasion to China dates back hundreds of years. Words of apology are cheap, even if they were uttered by a Prime Minister. What Japan need to do is to get rid of all convicted war criminals from the Yasukuni shrine. We need to see some action.
John, London, Canada

Something tells me that if an international panel were to write the history books of these nations with an honest accounting of recent history, the Chinese wouldn't be able to reject it and deny what is written to their own people fast enough.
Nate, Wichita, USA

The one thing that seems to be forgotten is that less than 1% of the schools have chosen to use this controversial textbook. That would seem to suggest that most Japanese have enough common sense to reject the right wing elements that exist in most, if not all, societies. It is true that there is a problem that there are government officials who are willing to approve textbooks that are of questionable value, but I have not yet seen any government that does not occasionally get involved in boondoggles. This is probably more true in this country than in many, where the bureaucracy is absolutely mind-boggling.
Francis, Kumamoto, Japan

At least information can still be researched from Japan about the period of aggressionż try searching for Tiananmen Square on the internet in China. China likes it's political propaganda, even if it is hypocritical.
Tom, Isle of Man, UK

No-one expects that the atrocities of the past be forgotten, simply that they are learned from
Diane Naylor, Fukushima

As someone who never paid a blind bit of notice to Asian politics in the past, a year living in Japan has given me a insight into the hatred, distrust, animosity and unforgiving feelings present between Asian nations, and whilst I realise where these feelings come from surely the time has come for them to move on in a more positive way.

No-one expects that the atrocities of the past be forgotten, simply that they are learned from. Koizumi is a man who, I believe genuinely means what he says and he echoes the many deeply ashamed young and old Japanese people. I, myself, hope that these nations can let go of old hatreds so that young people don't continue old patterns.
Diane Naylor, Fukushima

Koizumi's apology is just words. The same day he expressed 'deep remorse' eighty politicians visited the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo where war criminals are enshrined. Koizumi himself visits each year. How can we believe that Koizumi's apology is sincere?
Vincent Van den Storme, Yokohama, Japan

The history textbook was approved by the authorities. That is the view the government wants their next generation to have. A verbal apology to the outside does not ease the fears of their suffering neighbours. The apology is not from their heart.
Xingguang Han, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Once one party has the decency to offer an apology, the other party should have the decency to accept it. A handshake of some sort is in order.
Robert Arisz, Amsterdam

The issue is wider than Japan rewriting only China's history
John, NZ
The issue is wider than Japan rewriting only China's history. While Japan since the war has been pacifist, the people are not educated on Japan's role and atrocious behaviour during World War II to all peoples in Asia and Pacific. At least the Germans understand their history.
John, NZ

I find it ironic that 160 Japanese MPs visited a shrine honouring convicted World War II war crimes criminals, on the same day that Koizumi gave this apology. Where is the sincerity in that?
Huang, Singapore

The Japanese have apologised to China 17 times since 1973 on this issue. How many more times must Japan say it's sorry? How about some apologies from the Chinese for the severe crimes on it's own people and how about telling the truth in history books about Tibet?
April Boyd, West Midlands, UK

Japanese prime ministerial apologies are so great. We Japanese really feel sorry for people suffering during World War II. We Japanese hope that Asia and Africa will be more and more prosperous. When will people in Asian nations forgive Japan? We Japanese strongly hope to make good relations with all Asian nations.
Shigeru Ishikura, Japan

Koizumi's apology was politically expedient but unfortunately depressingly inadequate
Lily, Tokyo
Koizumi's apology was politically expedient but unfortunately depressingly inadequate. He failed to make it absolutely clear what he was actually apologising for. By "aggression" was he referring to a bit of colonial bullying? The odd massacre? Systematic rape? Until these appalling facts are fully accepted within Japan, it will be hard to move on. So this apology is doomed to the same fate as weak apologies made by Japanese prime ministers in the past.
Lily, Tokyo

China now needs to react with its highest level by showing the willingness from President Hu to meet Prime Minister Koizumi. The apology at an international setting illustrates Japan's commitment in building a fluid relationship with China using a common language. China ought to accept the apology, otherwise the world community will undoubtedly discount their own integrity further at a time when their domestic records are not credible either.
Wai, London, UK

Well if they sort out the school books that should be the end of it. Or we'll see what China's reactions have really been about.
Danny, Melbourne, Australia

Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. Japan is the country to withhold the most foreign currency in the world. China comes in second place. Giving Japan a permanent member seat is seen by China as a major obstacle to it's ambition of rising to become the next superpower.
Michel Renault, Grenoble, France

What would happen if one of these anti-Japanese protests turned into an anti-Communist protest?
Wenton Chan, San Francisco, CA<
What would happen if one of these anti-Japanese protests turned into an anti-Communist protest? What would the Politburo do if Chinese protesters also demanded a revision of Chinese history books for the mass failures of the Cultural Revolutions and the Great Leap Forward? It is a travesty that Japanese publishers are whitewashing their history; it is as equally a tragedy that the Communist government is allowed to do the same without reproach.
Wenton Chan, San Francisco, CA

I wonder what the reaction would be in Lhasa if Tibetans attacked Chinese restaurants in protest at the portrayal of the "liberation" of Tibet in Chinese textbooks. China is manipulating the emotions of its own people in order to score political points against its neighbour. The Chinese reading this page need to wake up and look at what their government is doing before criticising events of 60 years ago.
Steve, Cardiff, UK

Japan is a democracy. There will always be those who reject the past, as there are in Germany. This does not make them the opinion of all Japanese, or of the Japanese state. The fact is the PM of Japan apologized for Japan's actions in the Pacific War in 1995. As for Yasukuni, there is a startling correlation between Chinese government's complaints about it and the removal of communism to legitimate its power since 1978. No coincidence perhaps? China will not be satisfied unless Japan adopts its version of events, which are clearly distorted. The solution is for China to become democratic, and appreciate that allowing right-wingers to make absurd arguments about their history in public is far less dangerous than force-feeding nationalism to an entire population that has restricted access to other points of view.
John, Boston, MA

The issue is not about what the Chinese government is doing or has done
Lee, Seattle, USA<
The issue is not about what the Chinese government is doing or has done. This is about atrocities committed against the Chinese people, not the government, during WWII. To act as though it doesn't matter because the Chinese government may be in violation of Human Rights now, is appalling.
Lee, Seattle, USA

Japan has several textbooks range from conservative to liberal, and schools have a freedom to choose the ones that best reflects their educational policy. China and Korea have only one textbook that's written by the government that doesn't offer objective views of things. Japan has freedom of press and choice, China and Korea don't.
Tatsuaki, Tokyo, Japan

Besides China & Korea, Japan was guilty of some of the worse wartime atrocities committed in South East Asia. The Chinese were naturally their targets. The stories I was told include forced prostitution, torture and executions. I have nothing against Japanese of my generation but their elders should realise that their lack of remorse and responsibility is not acceptable.
Fahonn Liau, Nottingham, UK

I am deeply puzzled by the logic of some who insisted in this forum that China does not have a right to criticise Japan for glossing over its wartime atrocities because of its own human rights records. These are separate issues.
Kehong Zhang, Waltham, MA, USA

As a Nanjing native, I can never forget the 300,000 innocent people massacred here by the Japanese. I do not support Japan entering the UN Security Council, because if a nation can not face up to the crimes they committed in the past, how can people trust it?
Dadao Riben, Nanjing China

60 years on since WWII. The wounds may have healed in Europe. But situation in Asia remains far too distant from that. To set the record straight, I openly denounce the regrettable incidents happened during recent anti-Japan demonstration in Beijing. However Japanese government has a part to be blamed too. The outcry over Japanese school textbooks is only the latest issue to dampen Japan's relations with its neighbours. The Japanese government does not respect history and takes responsibility for history. They fail to win the hearts and minds of the people in neighbouring countries. That is the heart of the problem.
Fang Pianqi, London, UK

History can repeat itself if you don't learn from it. I have Japanese friends; I think they're nice people. But I object to what the Japanese government did, they want to erase this part of memory from their people. How can their naive next-generation face their neighbours' feeling? Ignore? This will only create more hatred. No UN Security Council seat for this kind of country, period.
Ming Zhu, China

I think the Chinese should relax. Every country writes its own textbooks the way that it wants to. What do you think Chinese textbooks say?
Tom, USA

No sympathy for Japan's consistent refusal to acknowledge what they did to China, neither for the communist regime manipulating its own people for its own political agenda. Shame on them.
Robert Huang, California, USA

There will be no such thing called "peace" between China and Japan until Japan face up to history
Shuang, Cardiff
As a Chinese, no one will ever forget what the Japanese did during World War II. My grandfather joined the Chinese Red Army 1938 and was killed by Japanese bomb 1944. There are thousands of families like mine. There will be no such thing called "peace" between China and Japan until Japan face up to history. Western world always talk about human rights in China. I can tell you guys now, as a Chinese, I am happy with my life.
Shuang, Cardiff

I'd like to see China apologise for the countless years and suffering it caused Vietnam over the centuries of rape, pillaging and conquests. Hypocrites! Human history is full of atrocities. Let's all apologise to each other... if not shut up. It's a disgrace to whinge and moan. It's also a disgrace to blatantly hide China's real aspiration for world domination by using this as a political football.
Linh Doan, Houston, US (formerly Vietnam)

Some people might think that would be unfair to ask the younger generation of Japanese to apologise for something they were not involved in. But it is even worse that the younger generation of Japanese couldn't learn the truth about their past! Crime can be forgiven, but should never be forgotten.
Ken, Newcastle upon Tyne

The massacre of 300,000 people in Nanking in 1937 by Japanese soldiers constitutes more than an "incident" to be sure, and China has every right to call on Japan to start fessing up. But China is a bit of a glosser in its own right. How many people in China have a clear (or any) understanding of what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989? Or how has China dealt with the invasion of Tibet in it's own textbooks?
Patrick Cowsill, Taipei, Taiwan

The Japanese committed war crime during World War II. But the government does not want to admit it. They even modify the history text book to beautify their invader to other Asian country. If they can not face their own crime, how can we trust them to be capable to do the job what a permanent UN Security Council is expected?
Joyce Jiang, San Jose, CA U.S.A.

If I were a mainland Chinese I'd be much more afraid of my own sabre-rattling, government that constantly tries to stoke patriotism than harmless Japan
Robin, Chicago, USA
Modern Japan is the most pacifist country in Asia. China, on the other hand, is embroiled in internal and external(i.e. Taiwan) conflicts, as well as numerous human rights abuses sponsored by a government that is unduly influenced by a belligerent military. If I were a mainland Chinese I'd be much more afraid of my own sabre-rattling, government that constantly tries to stoke patriotism than harmless Japan.
Robin, Chicago, USA

What about the Chinese apologising first for the rape of Tibet?
Emil Petrescu, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The point here isn't to compare wars within China with the Japanese in WWII. The point is the textbook is an attempt to distort historical facts to a new generation of Japanese students. The new generation of Japanese should be entitled to their history, whether glorious or not and in this case not! Facts are facts whichever way you look at it.
Jimmy, London

China has its problems now. However, Japan has shown a clear tendency to deny what happened in the past. It does cause concerns for those who were hurt most by them. We are constantly reminded about what happened to the Jews during World War II by Western media. Does anybody know how many Chinese civilians killed by Japanese during World War? Most likely more than Jews killed by the Nazis.
Jack Chang, Vancouver

It is time now for the leaders of both China and Japan to resolve this tension sensibly like good neighbours for the sake of Asia, before it's too late.
Joe Chen, Bangkok, Thailand






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