TOKYO (AFP) - Japan on Thursday urged China to not focus on "unfortunate history" but to look forward as Beijing marked the 70th anniversary of Tokyo's World War II defeat with a huge military parade.
Japan's nationalist premier Shinzo Abe and other officials are staying away from the commemorations celebrating an end to a conflict that China says costs millions of its citizens their lives during Tokyo's imperial march across Asia.
Top Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters that he had no comment on the parade itself.
But "now 70 years have passed since the end of the war, and we hope that (China) will tackle common issues shared by the global community in a forward-looking manner, instead of focusing on China's unfortunate history," he said, without elaborating.
The conflict is officially known in China as the "Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War".
Leaders of major Western countries have stayed away from the parade, though Russia's President Vladimir Putin was prominently in attendance.
Hours before the ceremony kicked off, US President Barack Obama heralded his country's repaired ties with former foe Japan "as a model of the power of reconciliation".
Suga said Obama's remarks "express the importance of the role the Japan-US alliance is playing for the world's peace and prosperity".
Tokyo had complained to the United Nations over Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's plan to attend the parade, saying it should remain "neutral" in the matter.
Tokyo's war record remains a sore spot that still colours relations with China and the two Koreas, which suffered badly from Tokyo's 20th century expansionism.
Also on Thursday, Suga said Tokyo has asked China to "treat reporters equally" after Beijing-based reporters for Japan's conservative Sankei newspaper were barred from covering the anniversary events.