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CNA reports, during Chinese State Councilor Yang Jie-chi’s visit to Japan, UNESCO decided to include the 1937 Nanjing Massacre documents in the Memory of the World. Tokyo remains suspicious about the credibility of these documents and protests against the decision. Japan is also considering suspending its funding for UNESCO.

In addition to the Nanjing Massacre documents, China and South Korea have jointly applied to include the documents of the wartime comfort women into the Memory of the World. On October 13, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, questioned that the examination process has become a political black-box operation.

He says, “There is a big discrepancy of views between Japan and China, and the decision reflecting a unilateral view turns the issue into a political problem.” He also says that the Japanese government asks the Memory of the World to be fair and transparent, and not used for political purposes.

China Times reports that the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) asked the government to urge UNESCO to withdraw the decision and reform the qualifications. LDP says that if UNESCO does not respond properly, Japan should suspend its funding to the organization. Some parliament members have also suggested that Japan should include documents of the Tiananmen Square Massacre into the list.

Liberty Times reports that Japan contributed 3.72 billion yen (approximately US$ 30 million) to UNESCO last year, which stands for about 10% of UNESCO’s budget, ranking second in the world following the US. But the US has stopped contributing funds in protest against Palestine joining the UN, so Japan currently makes the largest contribution to the organization.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chun-ying says that Japan’s threatening announcement towards UNESCO is shocking and is unacceptable.

CNA reports that Chinese State Councilor Yang Jie-chi met with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on October 14 and Abe expressed regret for the Nanjing Massacre being listed in the Memory of the World. He says that the focus should not be on the unfortunate history of the past and China and Japan should establish a forward-looking relationship.

Regarding this, Yang replies that we should learn from the past and look towards the future. He adds that there are signs of improvement in China-Japan relations, which is positive for both sides.

In the meeting, Abe expressed concerns about Chinese official vessels frequently entering waters near the Diaoyu Islands. Both sides agree that a “maritime communication mechanism" between China and Japan’s defense ministries should be established as soon as possible to avoid accidental conflicts.

Yang’s visit is considered to be an icebreaker between China and Japan. The two sides will restart the summit with the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean leaders in Seoul at the end of October. Chinese president Xi Jin-ping and Abe are expected to hold bilateral talks during the G20 Summit in Turkey in mid-November or in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the Philippines.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang