Leading European scholars have urged Japan to follow Germany's example and "fully recognize the terrible human sufferings" imposed on Chinese and other Asians during the World War II, saying such a recognition would be a very important element in solving the Beijing-Tokyo dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.
The scholars made the comments as Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba arrived in Paris on Tuesday. He will leave for London on Wednesday, and then move to Germany on a three-country European tour.
Gemba is seeking diplomatic solutions regarding the "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands, which belong to China.
Pierre Defraigne, the executive director of Brussels-based Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation, said: "A key element of the causes of the dispute (over the Diaoyu Islands) is the terrible human sufferings imposed by Japan on the Chinese people, which it has not fully recognized."
Defraigne told China Daily that diplomatic and political efforts between Beijing and Tokyo are the only way to a peaceful solution to the dispute, emphasizing China clearly has ownership of the islands.
"But I think there is a re-recognition needed to be made, by the two 'former enemies', of the terrible human sufferings of the Chinese people (during the World War II)," said Defraigne.
He added that Japan should also recognize China's economic and geopolitical rise, "which is generally a positive thing, not against any country, or carrying any prejudice".
The scholar said the Japanese should learn from Germany, which on the contrary, has repeatedly had the courage and honesty to face up to the atrocities that were committed by its countrymen during World War II.
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