Letter written in response to the article "Japan's Incredible, Vanishing Atrocity" in the Sunday Telegraph on 25 February 2001

By Norio Hattori
Press Secretary/ Director-General for Press and Public Relations,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

14 March 2001

Dear Sir / Madam,

 The Article in your paper by Mr. Kevin Myers entitled "Japan's incredible, vanishing atrocity" (25 February 2001) which claims that "the Japanese people remain in steadfast ignorance of" killings which occurred in Nanjing misrepresents Japan's position on this issue and contains some factual errors.

 First, the Government of Japan considers it an undeniable fact that the killings of Chinese non-combatants and plundering by Japanese troops did take place in Nanjing. This position has been already clearly expressed by the Government of Japan.

 Second, we teach our younger generation, through our textbooks, the tremendous damage and suffering inflicted on neighboring countries before and during the Second World War including what happened in Nanjing.

 Third, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's official statement in August 1995 states that Japan, "through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations.", and expresses "feelings of deep remorse" and "heartfelt apology". During Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to Japan in 1998, Prime Minister Obuchi reiterated Prime Minister Murayama's remarks expressing deep remorse and heartfelt apology to China. The Government of Japan has also implemented the "Peace, Friendship and Exchange Initiative" since fiscal year 1995 with the aim of fostering relations grounded on deep understanding and trust with the countries concerned. The initiative has two main pillars, a program to support historical research and exchange programs between Japan and the relevant countries.

 The Government of Japan and the people of Japan are committed to continuing to look into the past in order to learn from the lessons of history and to ensure that never again do we stray from the path of peace for all humanity. Based on this awareness, the Government of Japan will seek to enhance relations of trust between Japan and other countries, promote world cooperation as a member of the international community and advance the principles of peace and democracy through such efforts.


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