Tokyo’s outspoken conservative governor Shintaro Ishihara on Friday said he agreed with the mayor of Nagoya’s statement that the 1937 ‘rape’ of Nanjing by Japanese troops never happened.
Diplomatic sparks flew earlier this week when Takashi Kawamura said he believes only a “conventional fight” took place in Nagoya’s sister city of Nanjing, instead of the well-documented massacre of Chinese civilians.
China says 300,000 people were killed in an orgy of murder, rape and destruction when the eastern city — then the capital — fell to the Japanese imperial army, and the incident has haunted Sino-Japanese ties ever since.
Beijing lodged a formal complaint over the denial and Nanjing officials said they were freezing twin city activities in protest.
In a move that could further inflame emotions, Ishihara on Friday backed the controversial claims.
“What mayor Kawamura says is correct. I would like to defend him,” Ishihara told journalists.
Ishihara believes that it would have been physically impossible for the former Japanese army to kill so many people in such a short period of time, Jiji press reported him as saying.
On Monday, Kawamura told Liu Zhiwei, a high-level Chinese official visiting from Nanjing, that mass murders and rapes had not happened, a belief he says is based on the experiences of his father who was in Nanjing in 1945 at the end of the Japanese occupation of China.
Tokyo on Wednesday said the official government position on the sacking of the city had not changed.
Spokesman Osamu Fujimura said: “We cannot deny that the killing of non-combatants, looting and other acts occurred” following the Japanese imperial army’s advance into Nanjing.
Relations between Japan and China occasionally flare over differing interpretations of history, with emotions running high over the 1937-1945 occupation by Japanese troops of vast swathes of China.
The 4th Media
Some of the photos from the http://www.4thmedia.org/2012/03/13/photos-from-japanese-war-crimes-crimes-against-humanity-in-nanjing-but-they-still-deny-it/ on the Japanese massacres of Chinese article on the 4th Media:
Photos from Japanese War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity Against China: But They Still Deny It!
Original Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/tokyo-governor-backs-nanjing-massacre-denial.aspx?pageID=238&nID=14555&NewsCatID=356
Another related report from Japan on the same issue: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201202280033
Nagoya mayor sticks to ‘Nanking Massacre’ denial
February 28, 2012, The Asahi Shimbun
Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura at the Feb. 27 news conference (Ryo Aibara)
NAGOYA–Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura refuses to back down from his assertion that the Nanking Massacre of 1937 never happened.
“I do not believe that 300,000 unarmed Chinese residents were massacred by the Japanese military,” Kawamura said at a Feb. 27 news conference. “So I will not retract the statement I made that the Nanking Incident never occurred.”
Because his initial comment provoked anguish in China, a number of representatives from foreign media attended the news conference.
Kawamura started out by reading from a prepared statement about the recent coverage regarding his earlier remark.
After repeating his past arguments that no systematic massacre was carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army, Kawamura said, “It would be regrettable if I failed to transmit my true intention in proposing an exchange of views with Nanjing city officials as a means of deepening mutual understanding.”
When asked whether any massacre had indeed occurred, Kawamura said, “That would become an issue of what is meant by massacre. I want to hold frank discussions (with Nanjing).”
One of the foreign media organizations represented at the news conference was Phoenix Television, a satellite broadcaster based in Hong Kong.
A reporter from Phoenix TV asked whether it was appropriate for Kawamura to make such a comment to a delegation from Nanjing, the name by which the city in eastern China is now known.
Nagoya had a sister-city relationship with Nanjing, but the Chinese city suspended exchange activities after Kawamura went public with his views.
As for his meeting with the delegation from Nanjing, Kawamura said the discussions “proceeded in a cordial manner, so I believe the comment was not something out of line (for the Nanjing officials).”
Late last week, Kawamura indicated he would hold a news conference on Feb. 27 to explain his earlier comment, giving rise to speculation that he might change his tone.
Then on Feb. 24, Tokyo’s nationalist governor, Shintaro Ishihara, weighed in on the issue. In a news conference, Ishihara said, “I want to defend him (Kawamura) because the comment is correct.”
Aides to Kawamura said Ishihara’s remark had emboldened their boss.
Meanwhile, Osaka’s reformist Mayor Toru Hashimoto criticized Kawamura for raising the issue.
“A publicly elected head of a local government is not a historian,” Hashimoto said at a Feb. 27 news conference. “Any comment about historical facts will have to be based on past knowledge and should be made very carefully.”
Exchanges between Japan and China have been affected by the controversy.
On Feb. 27, it was decided to postpone an event scheduled for March 2 in Nanjing involving Yasuhiro Yamashita, the judoka who won a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, as well as other Japanese participants. The group was to hold a judo class in Nanjing.