Japanese hold rally urging return of relics looted from China



A Japanese civil group held a rally on Saturday to call on the government to return Chinese relics stolen by Japanese soldiers during World War II (WWII).

The Japanese society should face up to and liquidate the crimes of cultural aggression during the Japanese war of aggression against China, according to the group.

To reckon with Japan's responsibilities in its imperialist aggression and colonization means that the crime of looting cultural relics should also be exposed and criticized, said Atsushi Koketsu, emeritus professor at Yamaguchi University of Japan and also co-representative of the civil group which aims to promote the return of Chinese cultural properties.

Since the establishment of the civil group a year ago, more and more Japanese have paid attention to and understood the call for returning looted cultural relics, said Takakage Fujita, another co-representative of the group.

The civil group will continue to promote the return of Chinese cultural relics plundered by Japan during WWII through various activities, said Fujita, also director general of a civic group dedicated to upholding and developing the 1995 Murayama Statement.

At the rally, Kazuo Morimoto, representative of a research association of East Asian history and cultural assets, said that in recent years, France and other European countries have returned looted cultural relics to former colonial countries in Africa and Asia.

Noting the trend of returning looted cultural relics around the world, Morimoto stressed that Japan barely mentioned its wartime looting and destruction of cultural relics.

It is necessary for Japanese society to face up to history, sort out historical facts together with relevant countries, and seriously consider the issue of returning looted cultural relics, he added.

The founding purpose of the civil group is to encourage Japan to return Chinese cultural relics, achieve "historical reconciliation" between the two countries, and further promote the development of bilateral relations.