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Japan publishes report to boost 'peaceful' image

Written by: Staff

Tokyo, Apr 14: Japan, seeking to improve its image among Asian neighbours who hold bitter memories of the wartime past, stressed the country's six decades of contributions to world peace in a diplomatic report issued today.

Japan's relations with China and South Korea have turned cold over a number of issues, many relating to Japan's invasion and occupation of much of east Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

''Japan has had various complaints from surrounding countries,'' a Foreign Ministry official said. ''We hope that by reading this paper, people will get a better idea of what Japan has been doing for the past 60 years.'' Beijing and Seoul have been angered by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's annual visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, which honours convicted war criminals together with 2.5 million war dead.

The ''blue paper'' details Japan's efforts since World War Two to build a peaceful and stable world order, touching on development aid, the pacifist constitution and contributions to international peacekeeping operations.

But the report -- the bulk of which deals with Tokyo's diplomatic activities in 2005 and its view of the global and regional situation -- also reiterates Japan's call for greater clarity in China's military spending.

China's economic development presents a ''good opportunity,'' for Japan's future, the report says, but adds: ''Japan is keeping watch on China's increasing military spending and the modernisation of its military, and will continue to press for increased transparency.'' The report will be translated into English to make it accessible to an audience outside the country, the official said.


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