CHINA / National

Killing of Chinese in Japan concerned
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-26 05:54

The government has voiced serious concerns after Japanese police shot dead a Chinese man.

Reports in the Japanese media said officers on patrol in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, noticed two Chinese men behaving suspiciously on Friday afternoon.

Stopped by the police, the pair allegedly attempted to grab the officers' guns, but the police shot one man in the stomach.

He died shortly after arriving at hospital. The other man was arrested.

Sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the government was closely monitoring the case.

On Saturday officials with the Consular Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry lodged representations with the Japanese Embassy in China, and the Chinese Embassy to Japan has contacted the Japanese Foreign Ministry, noting the government's serious concern.

Chinese officials have called for an immediate inquiry by Japanese authorities, keeping Chinese officials informed, to ascertain the truth and properly resolve the issue.

The Chinese Embassy to Japan is also closely following events, and has dispatched consular officials to Tochigi Prefecture to investigate and to visit the arrested Chinese man.

Aso's China visit possible in Aug.

Japan and China are arranging to have Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso visit China possibly in late August, but the plan could be called off if Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi were to visit the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Aug. 15, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

The envisioned plan would have Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing formally invite Aso during their anticipated bilateral talks on the sidelines of a regional ministerial conference in Malaysia in late July, and Aso would accept, the sources said.

If the trip were to be realized, it would be the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to China since April 2005.

Last October, China refused to receive a planned visit by then Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura after Koizumi paid homage at Yasukuni.

The ongoing arrangement for Aso's visit is believed to reflect Beijing's intention to try to pave the way for mending ties with Tokyo after Koizumi steps down in September. Aso has expressed intention to run in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election to choose Koizumi's successor.

Aso's possible trip to China is being timed for late August at the earliest so that China will be able to observe Koizumi's action, given that the prime minister has not yet been able to realize his pledge to visit the shrine on the Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, the sources said.

Koizumi, who made the pledge while campaigning for the LDP presidential election in April 2001, has visited the shrine once a year since winning the race and thus taking the premiership, but not yet on Aug. 15. His latest visit took place last October.

While Aso has shown willingness to visit China as part of efforts to improve bilateral ties, Beijing is said to be demanding that the foreign minister clearly indicate beforehand that he himself does not intend to visit Yasukuni.

Aso and Li, who last met bilaterally in Doha, Qatar, on May 23 on the sidelines of another regional meeting, are expected to meet next in Kuala Lumpur, where ASEAN-related ministerial meetings are scheduled in late July.

In Doha, where the first bilateral foreign ministerial contact in about a year was made, Aso said he believes that a visit to Yasukuni is "something I should make a decision on while considering both my feelings as well as my public role."

He told reporters after meeting with Li that he "felt the meeting has become an opportunity for creating the trend toward an improvement in bilateral ties."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a press conference in Beijing on May 25 that Aso is an important individual with whom to cooperate together.

Koizumi's visits to the Shinto shrine, considered a symbol of past Japanese militarism, have sparked criticism from countries such as China and South Korea which suffered Japanese aggression before and during World War II.

Japan asked to put relations 'back on track'

As China and Japan commemorated the repatriation of more than 1 million Japanese emigrants from China after World War II, the nation again urged Japan to put bilateral relations back on track.

"We hope the Japanese Government takes a responsible attitude towards Sino-Japanese ties and gets bilateral relations back on the path of sound development," said State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan at a forum on China-Japan relations, part of the commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the repatriation.

On May 7, 1946, nine months after Japan surrendered to the Allies, about 2,500 Japanese, victims of their country's colonial expansion, began their voyage home from Huludao, marking the beginning of a repatriation effort that lasted into 1948.

Limited by shortages of natural resources, Japan turned to a national policy of emigration and colonization in the early part of last century. This movement saw a surge after 1931 when the Japanese army occupied the northeast part of China.

By the end of World War II, there were more than 2 million Japanese emigrants in China, most of whom were farmers in the northeast, according to researchers.

Tang said Sino-Japanese relations are one of the most important bilateral relations in Asia and even the world.

"We can't change history. But we should be responsible for the future, be responsible for the welfare of our children," Tang said.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Liaoning Governor Zhang Wenyue and Tomiichi Murayama, former Prime Minister of Japan, took part in the forum.

"The repatriation demonstrated the generosity and humanitarianism of the Chinese people, and many Japanese are deeply grateful for it," said Murayama.

Murayama also expressed his worries about current Sino-Japanese relations and said he hopes the Japanese Government could treat its relations with China and other neighbouring countries seriously.

He was backed by Muraoda Kyuhei, chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association.

Kyuhei said the major obstacle in China-Japan relations was the Japanese leaders' insistence on visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

(China Daily 06/26/2006 page1)


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