An outraged Japan said yesterday that China needed to learn better manners after it stood up Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, as relations between the Asian powers worsened over memories of World War II.
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (
"They suddenly canceled the schedule but gave no word of apology. It is understandable if they have urgent matters but they should know society just does not function without saying `I'm sorry,'" Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference.
Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Taro Aso warned that Wu had caused anti-Chinese sentiment among Japanese people to rise.
"Their manner is totally out of common [diplomatic] practices. It has greatly contributed to fanning anti-Chinese feelings," Aso said.
Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama also joined the Japanese government's unusually strongly worded criticism of its neighbor.
"I thought China was a country that values manners. I am very sorry to think that they must have forgotten such things," Nakayama said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government said it was upset over remarks Japanese leaders made during Wu's eight-day trip about visits to the Yakusuni Shrine.
"We are very dissatisfied that Japanese leaders have made repeated remarks that are negative for the development of better relations during Madame Wu's visit to Japan, which have deprived such meetings of necessary conditions and atmosphere," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan (
Koizumi, who has visited the shrine four times since 2001, refused last week to vow not to visit there again this year, repeating his statement that he would decide "appropriately" when to pay homage to Japan's war dead.
"I don't understand why Yasukuni visits are linked to militarism," Koizumi told a parliamentary committee.
"China says [that Japan] should show through its actions that it is reflecting on the war, but in the 60 years since the war Japan has shown it has reflected on the war by ... staying true to its word never to wage war," he added.
China, in comparison, has fought a number of conflicts since 1945, including border wars with India, Vietnam and Russia, as well as fighting alongside the North Koreans during the Korean War.