Japan spars over WWII accounts

The international friction over Japan's textbook accounts of its World War II occupation of Korea and China is also interdepartmental here in Japan.

Japanese Education Minister Heiji Ogawa said Tuesday he had no intention of correcting revisions to school history books which have caused a diplomatic dispute with China and South Korea. (China had earlier withdrawn an invitation to Mr. Ogawa to visit Peking.)

But Foreign Minister Yoshio Sakurauchi, speaking before a national security committee, again indirectly urged that the toned-down accounts of Japan's actions in China and Korea before and during World War II be corrected.

Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki, due to visit Peking next month to mark the 10th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China, told reporters Tuesday that his ministers had differing stands on the issue and that both sides must adjust and find common ground.

In Peking, the Chinese government received two senior officials sent by Tokyo to discuss the dispute. The envoys, Hiroshi Hasimoto and Hitoshi Osaki, who were unsuccessful at getting a meeting the day before, had lengthy talks at the ministry Tuesday, Japanese sources said.

China has strongly protested that the new textbooks gloss over atrocities committed by Japan's conquering army in the 1930s, as well as downgrading the invasion and occupation of China in 1937-45 from an aggression to an advance.

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