Japan must face up to WW II history: Wen

Associated Press

New Delhi, April 12:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today demanded that Tokyo “face up to” its wartime atrocities, after violent protests against controversial Japanese history textbooks spread across China over the weekend. Wen said the demonstrations should also cause Japan to reflect profoundly

on its bid to secure a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Though couched in the gentle phrasing of diplomacy, his comments, made to reporters near the end of a four-day visit to India, were the most direct yet indicating China’s reservations over Japan’s effort to win a UN seat. “Only a country that respects history, takes responsibility for past histories and wins over the trust of peoples in Asia and the world at large can take greater responsibilities in the international community,” Wen said. Protests have occurred in a number of Asian countries in recent weeks, with demonstrators urging that Japan be denied a permanent UN Security Council seat, a position that only Beijing and four other governments now hold.

The decades-old dispute has flared anew after Tokyo approved new textbooks last week that critics say fail to address the wartime invasions, and such atrocities as forcing Asian women into sexual slavery for soldiers. “The core issue in China-Japan relationship is that Japan needs to face up to history squarely,” Wen said. On Saturday, about 1,000 demonstrators threw rocks and broke windows at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing after a rally in the city’s university district. Protests were held in three other cities too. Tokyo demanded an apology for the violence, and asked for increased protection for its citizens living in China.