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Japan blasts Chinese bid for UN recognition of Nanjing massacre

Published on Jun 11, 2014 3:51 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan protested to China on Wednesday after Beijing applied for the inclusion of the 1937 Nanjing massacre and the "comfort women" forced to work in wartime military brothels in a Unesco programme, in the latest flare-up of tensions in relations.

Ties between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have been strained by a territorial row over a group of East China Sea islets and Chinese allegations that Japan has not properly atoned for wartime aggression. "It is extremely regrettable that China is trying to play up a negative legacy from a certain period in Sino-Japanese history by using Unesco for a political purpose, when effort needs to be made to improve ties between Japan and China," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference. "Today, we made a protest, and asked China for a withdrawal."

China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Beijing had submitted an application to Unesco to include the issues of the "comfort women", many from Korea and China, who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels, as well as the 1937 mass killings in Nanjing.

Beijing said the submissions were part of a need to"remember history, cherish peace and avert similar atrocities from happening again".

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