Japan should face up to wrongdoing

Updated: 2012-10-29 19:49


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BEIJING - Japan's attitude toward its history and current situation cannot help it win its neighboring countries' trust, and it will not become a real power politically if it does not face up to its wrongdoing committed in the past and at present.

Currently Japan and China, the country it invaded during World War II, are experiencing tension that has been rare in past decades, over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands.

Last week, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told reporters that the Diaoyu Islands issue involves China's core interests, so no external threat or pressure can weaken the resolve of the Chinese government and people to uphold its territorial rights.

Tension between the two neighboring countries is still high, one and a half months after the Japanese government announced the "purchase" of part of the Diaoyu Islands, as the Japanese side has not yet fully recognized its wrongdoing on the issue.

The Japanese government said the "nationalization" of the Islands is better than their "purchase" by right-wing activists, a prospect that had also been mooted. But in China's opinion, Japan's attitude is like asking China to choose from two doses of poison, according to Zhang.

Recognizing that disputes exist between the two sides over the Diaoyu Islands in the normalization process of bilateral relations, former leaders of the two countries decided to lay aside disputes for reaching consensus in the future.

However, Japan in recent years has taken significant steps backward on the issue through moves to strengthen its effective control of these islets. The "purchase" showed that the Japanese government has wholly abandoned the attitude of laying aside disputes and has fundamentally changed the situation.

Most of Japan's disputes with neighboring countries originated from the past. However, its wrong attitude toward its history paves no way for any proper solutions to those disputes.

The rise of Japan's militarism brought disastrous consequences for its neighboring countries, and its current attitude toward its neighbors' suffering in the dark years is far from acceptable.

Japan is always ambiguous on its war crimes, and sometimes denies or defend its illegal acts. More seriously, without any sense of shame and guilt, some politicians keep visiting Yasukuni Shrine that worships 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 convicted Class-A war criminals.

Germany took a different attitude toward its wrongdoing in history. Not only did it take symbolic steps such as West German chancellor Willy Brandt kneeling down at the monument to victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1970, but also undertook concrete action to compensate for the suffering it brought to ordinary people, such as providing compensation to families of victims in the Holocaust.

Germany's deep confessions have been widely accepted by other countries, and has earned the country the image of a responsible power.

If Japan cannot face up to its wrongdoing, it will never reach proper solutions in its disputes with neighboring countries, and its dream of becoming a political power will remain nothing more than a dream.