Minami Funakoshi senior contributor

Has Japan Ever Apologized to China for its Wartime Aggression?


[The following is an op-ed, and does not necessarily express the opinions of the editors.]

After the outbreak of anti-Japan riots in China incited by the Diaoyudao dispute, I asked my Chinese teacher, “Why do you think the anti-Japan sentiment is still so strong in China?” “I think it is because many Chinese people are upset that Japan still has not formally apologized for the atrocities they committed against China in the past,” she answered. “I feel the same way, too. I know every country, including China, has a dark history. But that does not mean Japan doesn’t have the obligation to admit its past mistakes. Germany has apologized for the Holocaust. Why hasn’t Japan apologized for its past aggression?”

Growing up, I always felt slightly ashamed of Japan, even indignant. When I learned about the atrocities Imperial Japan committed during the Second World War, I asked the same questions that my teacher asked—Why has Japan never admitted its wartime atrocities, and why has it never apologized?—until one day, I learned that Japan has apologized for its past aggression.

Or so I thought.

Apology? Yes and no

This yes-no question—has Japan apologized to China?—is not so simple as it seems.  As this article on New York Times’ Chinese language site points out, Japan has repeatedly attempted to apologize for its wartime aggression. But Japan’s attempted apologies, China claims, have so far been unsatisfactory or insincere.

In 1972, 1995, and in 2001, various Japanese prime ministers have issued what they considered to be a valid apology. Each time, China rejected the statement as a valid apology for one or more of three reasons: 1) the lack of the explicit mention of the word “apology,” 2) the lack of the explicit mention of China as the victim of Japanese aggression, and 3) the apology was only stated in a speech, but not written down in an official document.

The New York Times article claims that Japan satisfied all but the third requirement for the first time in 2001, when Prime Minister Koizumi visited China. This is, however, debatable. In 1997, Prime Minister Hashimoto stated during a press conference in Beijing:

In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Government of Japan expressed its resolution through the statement by the Prime Minister, which states that during a certain period in the past, Japan’s conduct caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, including China, and the Prime Minister expressed his feeling of deep remorse and stated his heartfelt apology, while giving his word to make efforts for peace.

Perhaps what China wanted was to be singled out as the only country that suffered Japanese aggression, instead of being grouped amongst the “many countries.”

Over the last four decades, Japan has been rewording and reissuing statements in attempt to meet China’s criteria for a “valid” apology. “Japan does want to fully express its apologies to China,” my father said to me once, “And we have been trying to do so. It’s just that every time we try, China seems to come up with new criteria, new definitions. If they truly do want to let us apologize and move on, why not tell us all the criteria from the beginning? It just feels like China is making up reasons to reject our apologies on purpose.”

Unrecognized assistance

Fatigue—this is what haunts Japan’s diplomatic relation with China. Many Japanese feel exhausted trying to satisfy China’s seemingly unending demands, and this fatigue also stems from the perception among many Japanese that China refuses to recognize, let alone show gratitude toward, Japan’s Official Development Assistance.

In the “Joint Communiqués Between Japan and China” signed by Prime Minister Tanaka and Chairman Mao in 1972, “the Government of the People’s Republic of China declares that in the interest of the friendship between the Chinese and the Japanese peoples, it renounces its demand for war reparation from Japan.” Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, from 1979 to 2006, Japan loaned US$40 billion to China in the form of ODA (Official Development Assistance), of which a very small percentage, US$1.8 million, comprised pure donations.

Beijing International Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, and the Beijing subway system were all constructed with the help of Japanese ODA. Yet because the Chinese government refuses to publicize this fact, most Chinese citizens are under the impression that Japan has provided little, if any, financial aid to China.

Granted, no amount of money could ever compensate wartime horrors such as the Rape of Nanking. And ODA is different from war reparation; it is, after all, a loan. But it is important to note that Japan is not trying to add insult to injury by withholding reparations. Japanese aid takes the form of ODA because China willingly renounced its claims to war reparations—something of which most Chinese citizens are also unaware. Over the years, Japan became embittered and fatigued as its assistance went unrecognized. “No matter how much we help China, China will simply take it for granted and continue to demand more,” many Japanese citizens complained. “Even Chinese citizens don’t even know that they are receiving aid from Japan. Why should Japan continue to send aid to China if they show absolutely no sign of gratitude?” Finally, in 2007, Japan ended the ODA program to China.

Looking to the future

The history of China-Japan relations is more complex than most Chinese or Japanese people realize; it is not an issue that can be solved with a single apology. Yet there is too little information, and too little dialogue about it. How many Chinese people know about Japan’s attempted apologies to China? (New York Times’ Chinese-language site is now blocked in China.) How many Chinese people know about the US$40 billion that Japan has sent to China?

Of course, there are many other factors that must be considered when discussing China-Japan relation, including the Yasukuni Shrine controversy, a subject deserving its own article. But there is reason to hope for the future of China-Japan relations. If Japan accepts its past and issues an official written apology addressed specifically and exclusively to China, and if China’s government and its citizens recognize Japan’s efforts, relations will improve. That is easily enough said, but in neither country does it appear to be in any leader’s immediate interest to take the first step. Until that occurs, the hurt feelings and misunderstandings will continue.

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Minami Funakoshi

After spending her childhood in India, Malaysia, and Japan, Minami moved to the U.S. to attend Yale University. Currently, she is studying abroad in Beijing and Taipei to improve her Chinese. She will work as an editorial intern at the Wall Street Journal Hong Kong Office through the Robert L. Bartley Fellowship Program.
  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.engel.tsukuba Alan Engel

    Excellent article for today, the 75th anniversary of the Rape of Nanking.

    But a related problem is the rise of hate groups in Japan, groups that publish books with “Hate China (嫌中)” and “Hate Korea(嫌韓)” in their titles. Massacre denial also seems to be on the rise with Japanese citizens appearing complacent.

    • minami

      Thank you for reading my article and leaving a comment! Unless Japan,
      China, and Korea revise their current reivisionist/propagandist history
      education, hate groups will continue to exist. It’s extremely
      unfortunate that people from all three nations tend to focus on the
      extremists (those who deny the massacre, etc.), and ignore those who are
      more neutral and call out for mutual dialogue and understanding. It
      seems like we have entered a vicious cycle where anti-Japan sentiments
      cause anti-China sentiments to intensify, which in turn further
      intensifies anti-Japan sentiments, etc. Hopefully there will be a day
      when we can escape this cycle and come to terms with one another.

      • TheBaron

        Is there any doubt that politicians in both China and Japan are using the issue of the apology/lack of apology for World War II crimes as a method of distracting their respective populations away from the on-going financial collapse? There are (chilling) parallels in history for that…

  • Chris Zheng

    Extremely insightful and helpful article. Thanks Minami!

  • Alec

    Well said, thank you.

  • Guy

    To be honest, I don’t think it’s an unreasonable demand to ask for a China specific, written apology, given the gravity of the crimes committed by Japan in China during WW2. $40bn of ‘aid’ (a large proportion of this in reality being strategic investment) while a positive step, does not substitute as an apology or compensation for something like the Nanjing massacre.

    • minami

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable for China to demand a specific, written apology, either; that’s not what I wanted to suggest in the article. I also understand that ODA is not the same thing as a war reparation, what I wanted to point out was that the reason why Japan gives ODA to China is because China willingly renounced its claims to any war reparation (which most Chinese people aren’t aware of). I feel like Japan is often criticised for not paying war reparation, when in fact it was China’s wish that Japan do so.

      • Guy

        Thanks for the reply. I understand your point about the war reparations, but I must say I do think your piece did suggest that the Chinese were at least being ‘implacable’ in their quest for an apology. For example, you relate the story of your father:

        ‘Over the last four decades, Japan has been rewording and reissuing statements in attempt to meet China’s criteria for a “valid” apology. “Japan does want to fully express its apologies to China,” my father said to me once, “And we have been trying to do so. It’s just that every time we try, China seems to come up with new criteria, new definitions. If they truly do want to let us apologize and move on, why not tell us all the criteria from the beginning? It just feels like China is making up reasons to reject our apologies on purpose.”’

        You put the word valid in quotes, and emphase your father’s exasperation about China’s ‘continual creation of new criteria’. From your explanation earlier in the article, it seems like China’s criteria are fairly clear: 1. the word ‘apology’ 2. the specific mention of China and 3. a written document.

        I am no expert on this, and you give no further detail, so I don’t know whether these criteria have indeed changed in response to Japanese statements, etc. on the issue. Have they? If not, I think it’s a fair and measured statement of demands.

        What is more, I never hear Chinese complaining about lack of war reparations from Japan. What I do hear is complaints about the lack of introspection and of a heartfelt apology, complaints which seem to me, (although I have a shallow understanding of the issue) to be valid.

        • minami

          As you said, I did cite my father to emphasise his (and other Japanese people’s) exasperation about ‘China’s continual creation of new criteria.’ What many Japanese people feel is: if you have those three criteria, why didn’t state them in 1972 when we drafted the document? Or in the 80s, or in the 90s? Although all three criteria are now clear, they were not in the past. China revealed them to Japan slowly over time, instead of making their demands clear from the beginning.

          I should have made this point clear in my article; my apologies.

          Some of the Chinese people that I have in contact with were under the impression that Japan never apologised, period. I’m not claiming that they are representative of the Chinese population, but I think it is still significant that such views are quite common.

          Thank you for pointing out the unclarity in my article and debating about it with me.

          • john

            just found this article.

            Minami – I highly suggest you visit Berlin and compare what the Germans have done to communicate sincere apology regarding its actions during WWII, against what Japan’s doing.

            The very fact that Japanese politicians are still going to Yasukuni’s akin to a German politician going to Hitler’s grave.

            Did I make it easy enough to understand?

          • Rob

            It’s not that simple. Germany has basically kept apologizing for holocaust but rarely for WW2 invasion.
            Take a look at this thread.


            I also think Japanese government should do more effort for this issue, but it’s not appropriate to compare Germany to Japan, because Germany’s attitude to its war crime (not to holocaust) is a joke.

          • Alex

            If the apology is sincere, they would not have apologized based on the “minimum requirement” China has set.

          • Martine

            Gee..maybe you should have thought of that before you dug those pesky mass graves and gunned down villagers.

      • Rev

        Russia too. They also need an apology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/metalheadpaladin Matt Cooper

    I think what Japan needs to do most, is to study the BRD’s example, particularly that of Willy Brandt. His ‘silent apology’, kneeling at the Warsaw Ghetto thirty-two years and a week ago today, did infinitely more to thaw relations and rehabilitate Germany’s image in the eyes of Europe and the Jews than Adenauer’s ‘official’ apology did nineteen years earlier.

    Adenauer’s apology ought to be a textbook example for Japan, of what NOT to do when apologising: basically along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry if you felt inconvenienced by any actions which may or may not have been undertaken in the name of our country at this time’. Lots of passive voice, and lots of placing responsibility on the victims. At times, when Japanese officials have apologised, they have used similar constructions which led people to doubt their sincerity – even more so when the apologies were followed up with visits to the Yasukuni war shrine.

    Japan never got its Warsaw Ghetto Memorial moment. Perhaps it is time that they considered giving themselves that opportunity.

    • minami

      About passive voice–I think it’s a characteristic of the Japanese language itself, rather than a sign of Japan’s reluctance to apologise sincerely. Extremely official language tends to be extremely passive, and that’s just how the Japanese language is.

      I wonder how China would react if Japan were to offer a “silent apology,” as you suggest. I can’t be sure, but I have a feeling China would denounce it as an easy way out of having to apologise out loud (or on paper). But maybe I’m being too pessimistic.

      About the Yasukuni shrine controversy–my op-ed about the issue will be on TLN soon. I’m curious to see what you think about it.

      In any case, thank you for reading the article and expressing your views. It’s extremely interesting and helpful to hear what other people think about China-Japan relation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/metalheadpaladin Matt Cooper

        Thank you, Ms Funakoshi, for giving us this space to discuss it! :D

        I daren’t speak for China, since the Chinese people I know are as varied in their opinions as any other nation, but my wife’s attitude seems to be one of forgive-but-don’t-forget. (Actually, she is often tempted to suggest that her countrymen watch more Miyazaki Hayao movies – particularly Kaze no tani no Naushika.)

        At any rate, I greatly look forward to seeing your article on Yasukuni! I am sure it will be as thoughtful and as hopeful as this one is.

      • Martine

        I don’t know…but I know they haven’t done it. People don’t apologize just for the sake of good relations. If japan was actually sorry, they would apologize for their own peace of mind. They have not.

  • nelson

    Japan politicians rewrite textbook several times over the decade; on-going denied of Nanking Massacre and the existence of sex slave have hurt the feeling of many of its victims in Asia including China and Korea. Japan politicians demonstrating no remorse in their atrocity in Asia. Unlike Germany after the second world war, where they make it a crime to even deny that there were 6 million Jews being slaughtered by NAZI during the war time, Japan politicians demonstrating no remorse in their atrocity in Asia. l therefore believe that Japan is still a high risk country to world peace.

    • minami

      It is true that Japanese textbooks present revisionist views of history and that Japanese politicians still have a long way to go in terms of recovering various nations’ trusts. I don’t think it’s fair to say, however, that Japanese politicians show no remorse whatsoever for the past atrocities they committed–after all, Japan did issue multiple (attempted) apologies, even if not sufficiently sincere. I also think the issue of the validity/sincerity of war apologies does not necessarily mean that Japan is a threat to world peace. We are, after all, the only nation that renounces war in the constitution. Although Japanese politics is leaning rightward and some politicians are attempting to rewrite the constitution, strengthen the SDF, etc., I think many Japanese citizens will rise to oppose such moves (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/opinion/global/the-Japanese-constitution.html?pagewanted=2&tntemail1=y&emc=tnt). Granted, that is not to deny that there are people who support militarisation. But I still don’t think it’s to the point that makes Japan a “high risk country to world peace.”

  • SPPM07 Almuni

    In 1972, the joint communiqué of Sept 29 arranged by Premier Zhou Enlai and newly elected Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka adopted wording to the effect that Japan was “acutely aware of its responsibility for inflicting tremendous damage to the Chinese people and deeply remorseful of it”. Tanaka himself even told a general assembly of LDP lawmakers in both houses of the Diet that “I explained in Beijing that meiwaku wo okakeshita is a very strong expression of apology that shows one’s determination never to make the same mistake again”

    I believe it was a sincere apology at the leadership level but the problem today is a vicious cycle:

    1) Japanese government apologizes to the Chinese
    2) Chinese see senior Japanese politicians deny Nanjing Massacre and visit Yasakuni Shrine so naturally they view the apology was not sincere (it also does not help that Chinese are not used to the fact that the expressions of individual politicians may not be representative of the official position of the government)
    3) Japanese are frustrated by Chinese demands for a more ‘valid’ apology and tries to apologise again

    Diplomacy is how to deal with countries that have different values. It is a shame that both sides today try to emphasis their differences rather than seek reconciliation through shared experiences (e.g. in Nanjing you will find a statue of Sun Yat-Sen and Toten Miyazaki and their sincere friendship)

    • minami

      I completely agree with your analysis. Granted, there are many other elements that complicate the issue, and Japan can do more to improve its relation with China (same goes for China). Living in China and talking to Chinese people have made me realise that we do have many things in common, and that many Chinese people long for a better China-Japan relation. But I think both China and Japan are too focused on internal politics to do what is best for the long-term improvement of the two nations’ relation.

      • Rena

        I agree with you Minami, it boils down to the fat that politics rule. Unfortunately the main core people of China and People of Japan have little say still in making their political leaders do the right thing for the people. It adds up to dollars and cents, Every one wants to pass the responsibility to the future government candidates to show a sincere remorse and pay retribution for their country’s war.crimes. ( Most likely they just don’t care).which basically means if any true compensation ( and I don’t mean monies given in trade or in exchanges for future benefits. ) hasn’t happened now it more than likely never will. I feel sorry for the people who suffered and lost entire family lines. I also feel sorry for those citizens of Japan who are either ignorant of what their country war crimes really amass to or the ones that are a Minority and don’t agree with what their political leaders have covered up and are still living in a country where if you still speak against the top government you can wind up dead, missing or threatened. ( same as not all German citizens agreed with Hitler but unfortunately was helpless to oppose ) The review on the covered up history of war crimes were sad to read and I am grateful to have read the real truths of the wars during those times. It makes me appreciate being born at a later date and I appreciate living in the U.S.

        • Tama

          Has China ever apologize for killing Tibetan people ?
          Has China ever apologized for 1979 war with North Vietnam when 600,000 Chinese troops invaded nth vietnam and killed 50,000 vietnamese people
          The above is not taught in Chinese education

          So whats the difference between this and the Japanese not apologizing or teaching of past crimes

          China needs to grow up and move on

          and stop killing tens of thousandths of innocent people with many many years of fake medicine

          Japan supplies the world with real products that work
          unlike China

  • vin

    Thank you for this insightful contribution. I look forward to reading your planned op-ed on the Yasukuni controversy. It is true that many chinese can understand and realize the apologies attempts by Japan, but they also note that the Yasukuni visit make all the nice words sound very insincere and hollow. So I am curious about your take on this issue, as it seems to me it is hard to argue against that idea that those controversial visit render all apologies irrelevant.
    When are you expecting to publish your new contribution?

  • Henry

    I think the main problem is not that Japan have or have not issued apologies for its WW2 deeds, its the fact that periodically Japanese politicians will do something to that’s completely contrary to the formal apologies (eg prime ministers visiting Yasukuni Shrine, major denying the Nanjing Massacre, politicians trying to push through revisionist textbooks etc). When you combine the two together, the apologies issues just seems fake and cheap.

    How sincere would the German apologies to the Jews look if every couple of years the chancellor visits a war shrine for the war dead that includes the likes of Hitler and Himmler, the major of a major city publicly denies the existence of the Holocaust while receiving an official delegation from Israel etc.

    • minami

      I do agree with you that revisionist attitudes/behaviours is the main issue. What I was trying to show in the article is just this: that the apology issue is not as simple as most Chinese and Japanese people think. It is not a clear-cut yes/no question. It is, quite arguably, true that the Japanese have apologised. However, their apologies are undermined by other factors (denying Nanjing, visiting Yasukuni, etc.)

      To me, a more pressing factor in China-Japan relationship is not the language (or form) of the apology but
      Japan’s historical revisionism
      (http://www.tealeafnation.com/2012/12/why-does-the-controversy-over-japans-yasukuni-shrine-refuse-to-go-away/). Rather than flatly stating the Japanese never apologised (which some
      Chinese people claim), it is more valuable if both sides debated about
      the reason why the apologies are not inadequate.

  • Stephen

    Your article is a piece of insight of how general Japanese thinks about this sensitive issue. While I completely agreed with you that Japan has done many times to apologise under different circumstances, there are a lot more that needed to be done to reflect what is truth and what is not true. I love Japan and I hold no quarrel with ordinary Japanese, however, what made me highly suspicious about the Japan society is that every time I visited a bookstore in Japan, I found there are a lot of academic books explaining why Rape of Nanjing is a fabrication, a lie and these books will provide great details in why the casualties within the 3 months after its capture is around 10k-20k instead of 200k-300k. From bookstore, to TV show inviting professor to explain on TV, I felt humiliated and tremendously angry that the general public will casually discuss the authenticity of the event as if they can reject like discussing about fashion. I am a ethnic Chinese and my family endured horrible suffering during the WWII by Japanese Imperial Army in China and South East Asia, while everyone should learn to move on, but when you see apology on one day and then revising history the other day, you start to think that Japan is not trustworthy. From 1950s when US start using Japan as a buffer zone to stop the spread fo communism, Japan released all war criminal in 1958, include a glorified version of the history of the war in the Yasukuni Shrine textbook using “incident”, “trespassing”, “liberation”, to describe its invasion. All these contribute to bankrupt your credibility. Btw not one UNIT 731 personnel was ever held accountable, tried or punished. Right now I do think there is little room to negotiate or come to terms with each other. ALL CHINESE KIDS ARE TAUGHT ABOUT NANJING AND JAPANESE BRUTALITY as early as primary school, in HK, Taiwan, Singapore every student will learn not to forget this piece of atrocities. So we dont really care now what Japanese think about us and themselves, as long as we dont forget, Japanese will not escape the path of self reflection. History will eventually come to back to haunt those trying to destroy it.

    • Mine

      You have to understand that Japan has a freedom of speech. Not to glorify about it too much but I am against for a government from stopping or restricting anyone from writing or saying anything that includes revisionists you are referring you see at the bookstores. Bold deniers of war atrocities are not taken seriously in Japan either.

      • V Lee

        “Bold deniers of war atrocities are not taken seriously in Japan either.”

        This reply is almost 1 year late. But I think the ‘bold deniers’ on the contrary, are the most influential people in Japanese society starting with the prime minister, cabinet ministers, MPs, mayors, military leaders and lately the Abe’s cronies in NHK. Your freedom to say the most horrible things unfortunately comes from powerful influential persons in Japan not from fringe lunatic groups. Your ‘extreme views’ are slowly becoming mainstream views.

      • Qi Yang

        As if writing a book denying Holocaust is permissible. The issue here is not freedom of speech/press, but the political force behind those voices – in this case, extreme right wing nationalists.

  • tangxue

    Perplexing. I am ethnic Chinese, and I seem to know more on this subject than you.

    Here’s Japan’s problem:

    -The visits to Yasukuni and constant denialist statements by high officials contradict any apology made. Average Chinese people are not feeling the sincerity because of this.

    But there is much, much misunderstanding in China as well:

    -The idea that clear language was not used in apologies is simply false. The word “apology” was used several times over the last two decades, including ‘owabi’, which appears to be a word that carries deep gravitas and about as sorry as one can issue in Japanese.

    -A good chunk of our population seriously believes that all Japanese textbooks omit or whitewashes wartime atrocities, instead of just the odd revisionist version that shows up in a few schools.

    -That war reparation money was entirely, and officially turned down by Mao when offered by Japan.

    Yet ultimately, the whole thing boils down to sentiment, pride, and nationalist egos. Westerners will often frame this in a moral context, but being Asian, I have to say this is just not the case. When I was growing up in the 80s, nationalism against Japan, or outrage over the war was minimal. Not even a fraction of what it is today. My parents attest that these sentiments were not common even right after the war. It is largely the product of pride associated with China’s meteoric economic rise. Similarly, views of China from Japan were much more favorable just 10 years ago, prior to the textbook protests and Diaoyu island debacle. Yet, all these issues were present back then.

    What this means is that there is no good faith. And where there is no good faith, we don’t expect someone who resents China to make a sincere apology, and even if they did, we would be so suspicious that it would not be accepted. Then the whole cycle starts again.

    Asians are proud, nationalistic people. I admit this. In ethical views, it’s apology before friendship. But in our political reality, we need friendship before apology. So let’s put moral obligations aside, and talk realpolitik.

    What China and Japan needs is a cooldown period of stable diplomatic relations, then a gradual warming. It was going well under Hatoyama before he got canned. Both governments and people should take measures to avoid excessive provocation. Diaoyu island is a good example of meaningless fighting over something insignificant. We don’t need this. We need a normalized relationship, and an understanding that the world is getting smaller, that we need some sort of regional factionalism just to counter other factions around the world. In order words, good faith. When sentiments are cordial towards each other, then it is up to Japan to orchestrate a serious, comprehensive apology, and for China to organize a publicized and formal acceptance. It must take cooperation. This formal gesture will give both sides a fallback point to which we can reference as a diplomatic reset. That, is how we will bury the hatchet and put it behind us.

    • thank you

      oh man I really wish you’d have written this article instead of her. you seem a lot less biased in your thinking and a lot more accurate in your providing of facts. thank you so much for this comment! I feel that I learned a lot more from reading your post than this article itself.

    • Martine

      Not all Chinese feel as you do. In fact, I think you are being a bit too lenient. Its not just on China’s behalf that Japan needs to acknowledge what they did. The hints they did to POW’s. The experiments conducted at Unit 701. They have not been addressed, and its kind of obvious the Japanese people are not sorry, and don’t respect China at all.

  • アラン


    Any can tell by 67 years of Japanese behavior in business, press and educational materials covering her own atrocities, that Japan’s citizens are apologetic and peace seeking. Japan’s posture gives China the power to use guilt for business leverage – and more significantly – to polarize and redirect its own people’s frustrations at her own totalitarian excesses:

    China thereby “capitalizes” on the compassions of the children and grandchildren 1930s-40s, to leverage business deals, weaken its neighbors, and deflect its own citizens victimization by their own government.

    Therefore why should China give up such an advantage as long as their smaller capitalistic neighbor is the only one of the two to care about past and current injustices against both peoples ?

    • shane

      Highly doubt that. There was once a Japanese man who fought in WW2. He was found in 1975 on the islands of Guam.

      When he returned to Japan, he was treated as a national hero, 30 years after the war ended. That tells me that Japanese are still that barbaric, decapitating, colonising people, they just have a cloak of political correctness covering them.

      They still have monuments erected, with tried War Criminals names etched on them.

      This is the complete opposite of an Apology. The USA allowed Japan to get away with many crimes including Unit 731, because information was passed on to the Americans.

      The Japanese, US and British government should ALL apologise for this, as they are all just as guilty as each other.

  • Asian American

    What does ODA have to do anything? It’s a loan; this is a conflation of different issues. It’s as if Japan does not acknowledge China as having been a victim who has a say in how an apology should be made. Sure, Japan has made statements, they have a culture and religion that should be respected, and they’ve pursued amicable relations with China. But at the same time they glorify war criminals at the Yasukuni Shrine, continue to have a terrible stance on the crime of enslaving comfort women, and show insufficient unity with supposed Chinese allies in admonishing imperialist textbooks. I wouldn’t accept an apology given from someone kneeling down kissing my feet if they were doing glorifying their wrongs behind my back

  • oliver_chang

    I am a Taiwanese kiwi and my take is that if China accept the Japanese apology then the Communist loses the ethnic card and the anti-Japanese card, which they use often to divert attention on other social issues.

    • Bobby

      your comment is really unintelligent because you are denying all facts of past. Reardless if you are Taiwanese or not, your ancestors came from China, and your words are destroying the very essence of our soul. You Disgust me.

      • oliver_chang

        Why are you attaching your own soul to the communist party?Analyzing the communists’ way is not a denial of what the Japanese have done in the past. My ancestry does not deny the fact that the Communists are producing TV drama everyday on multiple channels to insult the Japanese, and the Chinese audiences’ intelligence. The most interesting thing about some of the Mainland Chinese is that if other people’s opinion differs from them, then these people are either foreigners who should not interfere or comment on the Chinese internal matters, or, if they have ancestors from China, then they should accept the communists’ teaching and media output, otherwise they are traitors and disgrace. If you can’t respect other people’s experience and rational opinions, you should stick with the Chinese censored internet, where you will be happy and not feel disgusted at all.

        • Martine

          China is Communist. Thats their choice. But the japanese have NOT really apologized. the Chinese have not had the choice to accept or not. The apology hasn’t been given. So you are putting the cart before the horse. Or are you saying the Chinese don’t deserve the apology because they might “misuse” it?

  • Rida

    It’s not like the apology will undo all the crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army or bring back any of the loved ones who were so brutally killed, murdered, tortured and raped. Therefore, if China holds demands such as not grouping them together with other countries and directing an apology towards it as a country – it is literally, the least that Japan could do.

  • Nancy

    One of my uni classmates was Japanese, who used to work for the government. He told the class includes the lectures, that the front line servants and other many people in/above his age know the truth/history, and many of them have proposed to the top leader of the country that they should rewrite the history books for students, documentation for viewers to tell them the truth. However, these people got punished. He got sacked by the government, which was the main reason he came to the UK for a MSc degree in a completely different environment.
    So the sincere apology is not just publish something in general, but learn from Germany, then go to China Nanjing city, Shenyang city to apologize in person!I the same action to south Korea as well. Don’t worry about the criteria, if Japan has done exactly the same as what Germany did to other countries in Europe, including rewrite their so called truth to the real truth. I am sure Chinese will put a stop on this as Chinese are likely to forgive if we have received proper apology, not superficial apology. Unfortunately, Japanese current party whos managing the country are conservative, who are very proud of their past and their achievement includes worldwar two and their “past”economy. They don’t like to say sorry, they think they re the “big man” in Asia. With Chinese economy booming, of course Japan is unwilling to accept the truth that Japan is not NO 1 in Asia any more. As a Swedish couple said when being interviewed by Thames/Telegraph that Japan should be like Germany, knee down to China and south Korea to apologize, therefore, the world war two can draw a full stop.

  • SiMoebus

    Interesting. Just as complicated issue as I always though when it comes to relations between nations.

  • Dog

    Having an enemy centralizes power, so why would any government-Chinese or otherwise-want to do something that promotes peace?

    It’s not about apologies or history. It’s about power.

  • Sd

    I think it is difficult for the Japanese to apologize because their participation in World War II was most likely a reaction to Western imperialism. Western countries seem unable to apologize for imperialism and its death toll over several centuries. Even the United States was a colonizer in the region. The ultimate oppresor would have to apologize first.

    • Jack Mabry

      What could the invasion of China possibly have to do with Western imperialism? Please think a little before you defend Japan! Atrocities have nothing to do with Western imperialism.

      • Abel

        Please read AND think more of your saying yourself. Just google or wiki the history of WWII, learn something about the relation between the influence of western imperialism and Japan’s invasion.

        • Martine

          The Japanese are not expansionist because we made them do it. They did what they did. Now own up. I am not sure “why” even matters.

  • Chng Hoon Hoon

    Do you even know what Japanese Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) requires the recipient country to use Japanese companies and Japanese products as well. What kind of intention does it signal to me when you give me a $1 that would generate more $ for your own back home! The lacked of sincere apology coupled with attempts to whitewash the atrocities committed by the Japanese combined to give people a sense of the lacked of trustworthiness of the Japanese Government in any political parties.

  • redmanrt

    “the Government of Japan expressed its resolution through the statement
    by the Prime Minister, which states that during a certain period in the
    past, Japan’s conduct caused …”

    During what period? This is no apology. And it wasn’t just Nanking. After the Doolittle raid some enormous number of Chinese were executed, for one other example.

  • Christopher

    Minami, this article is in my opinion a piece of crap. China turned down the war reparation and that saved a lot of money for Japan. The Japanese need to be GRATEFUL that even in these situations China is still being the “bigger person”. The ODA means nothing because its a loan, and it deserved not to be a loan. In no way does the make up for anything the Japanese has done let alone it disgust me when you say the Chinese need to be grateful for letting Japan off its money.

  • http://chinasucks.tv/ China Sucks TV™

    LOL. The repressive chinese regime accuses Japan of downplaying long-ago crimes. Who do they think they are fooling. Most countries put a more positive spin on dark pasts, and china is an expert at this.

    It is both ironic and absurd that china, a country that commits human rights abuses today, focuses so much attention on Japan’s misdeeds 80 years ago. By pointing a finger at Japan’s crimes, the repressive chinese government hope to gain legitimacy and diverts attention from its own domestic problems, like extrajudicial arrest, jailing, torture and murdering of citizens, pollution, censoring the media and the internet. I could go on.

    However, instead of reacting to the chinese accusations, I believe Japanese leaders should shift the conversation by shining a light on the current state of human rights in china.

    Yes, Japan committed horrible violence eight decades ago, but today, it is a peaceful, law-abiding country with some of the freest, healthiest and most prosperous people on earth. Can any of this can be said about china? Absolutely NOT.

    • you absolute fucking walnut

      you’re thinking of the chinese government. citizens cannot take rights away from themselves. the apology that needs to be made is for the PEOPLE, not the government. the apology is to the families of those who had their family members TORTURED, RAPED, and KILLED unjustly.

  • Zzz

    Unrecognised assistance – how much recognition are you after – if we donate a large amount to a japanese fund – do we ask for recognition all the time… Mainstream view