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2014年12月18日 (木)

南京「哀悼日」 容認できぬ一方的な反日宣伝

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Xi uses Nanjing ‘day of mourning’ as propaganda tool against Japan
南京「哀悼日」 容認できぬ一方的な反日宣伝

Such a one-sided imposition of perceptions of history is only amplifying anti-China sentiment in Japan, and is unproductive. It is totally unacceptable.

On Dec. 13, the anniversary of the Nanjing Incident by the former Imperial Japanese Army in 1937, a commemorative service was held at “The memorial hall of the victims in Nanjing massacre by Japanese invaders” in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province. In a speech at the ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping once again claimed “300,000 people were killed” in the incident.

Xi emphasized that any attempt to deny this figure was unforgivable. “We must firmly oppose any attitude dismissing the history of the invasion or comments that glorify it,” he said.

However, there is scant objective evidence to back up the claim that 300,000 people were killed. The Japanese government has admitted the fact that civilians were killed by Japanese soldiers, but says it is difficult to determine precisely how many people died.

In Japan, the dominant view is that, based on demographic statistics for Nanjing at that time and other factors, the death toll of 300,000 is far removed from reality. In 2010, a joint research team of Japanese and Chinese historians released a report saying Japanese scholars have stated there are varying estimates on the number of victims in the incident, ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 to as many as 200,000.

If China sticks to its position of “taking history as a mirror,” we think it should develop views based on historical facts that are backed up by internationally credible documents and materials.

Olive branch also extended

Earlier this year, the Xi administration designated Dec. 13 as a “day of national mourning” and Sept. 3 as a national day to “mark the victory in the war against Japan.” Elevating ceremonies held on both these days to state-level events appears aimed at making them “history cards” to be played against Japan in the diplomatic arena.

Xi aspires to bring about the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.” His use of “patriotism” and “anti-Japanese sentiment” also appears motivated by a desire to boost the centripetal force of his administration. Xi is also seemingly feeling the need to ensure that his opponents within the Chinese Communist Party and the public are not given any excuse to criticize him.

If this anti-Japan feeling is based on the vagaries of domestic politics, there is no likelihood the Xi administration will take steps to rectify this situation of its own accord in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, Xi also said at the ceremony, “The peoples of China and Japan must continue their friendship,” and, “We should not hate the [entire] people simply because a small number of militarists started a war of aggression.”

Xi appears to be attaching great importance to the opportunity to repair ties presented by his summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in November. Alarmed by the slowdown in China’s economic growth, the president is certainly seeking to improve relations with Japan, especially in the economic field. There is no doubt Xi will continue to switch between “pressure” and “friendship” in his dealings with Japan.

Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, and issues of history will come under the spotlight in the international community. There are concerns China will step up its anti-Japan propaganda campaign. China and Russia have agreed to hold joint events to celebrate their victory in the war. Xi has also suggested that China and South Korea form a “united front” on the issue of historical understanding.

We think Japan should hit back at unfair propaganda with a resolute attitude. The nation must work harder to share information with the world to spread a correct understanding about Japan, including the path of a peaceful nation it has taken since the war.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 17, 2014)Speech


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