BEIJING — China’s foreign minister renewed calls Sunday for senior Japanese leaders to abandon any attempt to water down their nation’s guilt over its World War II aggression against China and others.
Looking ahead to this year’s 70th anniversary of the end of the war, Wang Yi told reporters at an annual briefing that history continues to haunt relations between Beijing and Tokyo. He said Japanese leaders had to choose whether to keep those feelings raw or to put history behind them.
“Seventy years ago, Japan lost the war. Seventy years afterward, Japan must not lose its conscience,” Wang said. “Will it continue to carry the baggage of history or will it make a clean break with past aggression? Ultimately the choice is Japan’s.”
Japan launched a full-bore assault on China in 1937, withdrawing only after its surrender at the end of World War II in 1945. Many if not most Chinese believe Japan has never shown true contrition for its brutal occupation that China claims caused the deaths of 14 million people and massive population displacement as refugees fled the Japanese army and set back the country’s embryonic modernization by decades.