Shrine in Japan to Its War Dead Plans to ‘Soften’ Section on China





The Japanese war shrine at the center of a long-running dispute between Japan and China has decided to soften the references to China in a war museum on its premises, a Japanese newspaper reported Wednesday.

Relations between Japan and China deteriorated to their worst in decades under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, partly because of his annual visits to the site, the Yasukuni Shrine, which is seen by critics as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism.

Bilateral ties have begun to improve under Mr. Koizumi’s successor, Shinzo Abe, who paid an official visit to China shortly after he took office in September....

The shrine authorities agreed in October to alter texts in the museum that state that the United States deliberately forced Japan into the war. The new display panels on the American role in the war will be installed next month, said the newspaper, the daily Mainichi Shimbun.

At the time, the shrine said it saw no need to change references to China, but a shrine panel has now decided that revisions are needed, the paper said.

The exhibition currently says, for example, that the Marco Polo Bridge incident — a 1937 battle near Beijing that marked the beginning of the second Sino-Japanese War — was set off by illegal attacks on the Japanese by Chinese nationalist troops, the newspaper said.

“There is no mistake in the facts, but the expressions are such that some parts could be misunderstood, so we will substitute softer expressions,” the newspaper quoted a person involved in the revisions as saying of the references to China.


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