Tokyo and Beijing in Historical Divide – Rowan Callick

From The Australian:

Just as China and are starting to patch up their political differences, history wars are again threatening to throw a spanner in the works. On the eve of a crucial visit to by China’s Premier , which he hopes will be “ice-thawing”, the project aimed at producing a joint history of the countries’ relations appears to be foundering.

The project was agreed during the “ice-breaking” visit of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Beijing last October, with the aim of bridging the troubling differences in the countries’ interpretations of history – in part responsible for the violent demonstrations in China against Japanese diplomatic and business premises two years ago.

But University of Tokyo history professor Shinichi Kitaoka said that the time frame – June next year is the target for completion – and the massive differences between the historians have already forced them to abandon writing a single, joint history. Instead, the Chinese and Japanese teams, 10 on each side, will write separately their own take on the history between the countries, both ancient and modern, and will exchange any controversial points on which they disagree, in the hope of diminishing them.[Full Text]

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