China on Monday called on Japan to take concrete steps on historical issues to earn the trust of countries in Asia victimized by Japanese militarism in World War II.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a press briefing when commenting on the recent "comfort women" row between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Lu said it is basically a dispute between the ROK and Japan, but the conscription of "comfort women" was a grave crime of Japanese militarism committed against people in several countries during World War II. Therefore, China thinks it necessary for Japan to reflect thoroughly on this.
He said that if the Japanese side sincerely wants to deal with its history, it must take concrete steps on historical issues to win the trust of people in Asia and the world.
When it comes to historical issues, Lu said that Japanese leaders tend to avoid the important and dwell on the trivial, while shirking the main responsibility, which makes it unlikely for people to believe the sincerity and honesty of the Japanese side or give them credit.
Recently, the Japanese leader visited Pearl Harbor, the site of a shock attack by Japan on Dec. 7, 1941 that killed thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians, while ignoring Japan's neighboring countries that were seriously devastated by Japanese militarism. Moreover, following the Pearl Harbor tour, a number of Japanese senior officials visited the notorious war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors 14 Class-A convicted war criminals. Lu said that such moves by the Japanese side showed that Japan is evasive about key historical issues.
Japan has decided to temporarily recall its ambassador to the ROK to protest against the erection of a new "comfort women" statue near its general consulate in ROK's southern port city Busan, a Japanese government spokesman said on Jan. 6.
The ROK said that it was regrettable for Japan to recall its senior envoys over a statue symbolizing Japan's wartime sex slavery victims. The statue represents women forced into sexual slavery in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II and was first erected in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul in 2011.