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Japan: 'Mature' ties with China to take time
Updated: 2006-02-27 18:58

The visit was part of a Japanese effort to mend soured ties with China, which has rejected talks with Koizumi due to his repeated visits to a war shrine honoring 14 top World War II war criminals among 2.5 million war dead.

China and other Asian nations see the Yasukuni Shrine as glorifying Japan's militaristic past. Koizumi says he visits the shrine to recommit Japan to peace.

Nakagawa said he explained Koizumi's position to his Chinese couterparts only to see Chinese officials standing firm on their position.

"About the Yasukuni issue, we discussed honestly," he said.

"The Chinese side, of course, said there is no room for compromise. I told them that this issue is related to the public sentiments of the two countries. The mutual understanding of the two countries is important," Nakagawa said.

"Japan has its own public sentiment. In Japan, I told them, the political environment calls for leadership to visit the shrine," he said.

"We were greeted by a certain level of tension, he said.

But, he added: "My talks with Chinese counterparts were profoundly productive."

Nakagawa said he wished China would not focus just on Japan's wartime past, but also look at its post-war history of peace and democracy.

"I was able to confirm that our relationships are important. We must build win-win relations. That would also benefit all of Asia," he said.

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