China angered by Japan's U.N. bid for kamikaze pilot letters

BEIJING Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:33am EST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China condemned on Monday plans by a Japanese city to ask the U.N. world heritage organization to register letters by World War Two kamikaze suicide pilots alongside documents that include the diaries of Anne Frank and the Magna Carta.

The southern Japanese city of Minami Kyushu had last week asked UNESCO to register the wills and farewell letters of the pilots who had carried out attacks on allied ships to highlight the importance of world peace.

The city hosted an airfield from which hundreds of pilots launched suicide missions in 1945, the final year of the war.

China's Foreign Ministry, however, said kamikaze pilots deserved no such recognition.

"The design behind the so-called application for the kamikaze pilots is very clear, which is to try and beautify the Japanese militarist history of invasion," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

"This intention is diametrically opposed to UNESCO's objective of maintaining world peace, and must be strongly condemned and resolutely opposed by the international community," Hua added.

China's ties with Japan have long been poisoned by what Beijing sees as Tokyo's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two.

A row over a chain of disputed islands in the East China Sea has further deteriorated relations. Ships from both countries frequently shadow each other around the islets, raising fears of a clash.

Ties have also been strained by China's creation of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine honoring war criminals among Japan's war dead.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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Comments (7)
Davage wrote:
I’ve read that when Sailors in wartime watched an enemy ship sink, they often did so with a certain solemn reverence. It’s not the guy in the other boat, or plane, or poor sod on the battleground that decided to invade another country.

WWII does not rest on these souls, who believed in all earnestness (and under propaganda by their state) that they were the last line of defense before a foreign nation killed their families – lets not forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the fire bombings of Tokyo which killed many civilians – no! The tragedy of WWII rests on the souls of their leaders, those who were convicted of war crimes.

Does Beijing have no shame?

Feb 10, 2014 9:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
stev99 wrote:
Whether Beijing has shame or not has nothing to do with the fact that kamikaze pilots should not be honored for acts of peace when they in fact were tools of destruction. If the request to the U.N. was to enshrine their memory due to their aggressive nature during WWII, then yes that would be appropriate. Peace though? Not so. Whether these pilots knew what they were doing or not, it does not override the actual fact and result that they fought on the side of the aggressors during the war, for conquest, not peace. Let’s not make a lie out of the truth.

Feb 10, 2014 11:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AnLaN wrote:
Beijing is using their WWII complaints as a cover for there other more aggressive activities in Asia.

Feb 11, 2014 3:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
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