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June 28, 2017

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Japan tells China to stop politicizing debate with its 'comfort women' bid

TOKYO -- Japan lashed out at China Wednesday for politicizing a U.N. agency with a bid to register papers on its wartime sexual slavery and the Nanjing massacre in a global document trove.

Beijing said Tuesday it wanted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the information in the "Memory of the World" register, which is dedicated to preserving documentary heritage.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denounced the plan, telling reporters Wednesday it was a backwards-looking move that would not help to resolve bitter disputes between the two countries, and urging Beijing to reverse course.

"At a time when efforts are needed to improve Japan-China relations, it is extremely regrettable that China moved to make political use of the UNESCO forum and to unnecessarily play up the negative legacy of ties from a period of the past," he said.

That came after Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Tuesday that Beijing wanted the documents registered to help the world to remember the sufferings Japan had inflicted.

After Suga spoke in Tokyo, Hua said China would not withdraw its application.

"Yesterday, I have said that China's application to the Memory of the World is to memorialize history, protect human dignity and prevent those crimes against humanity and human rights from happening again," she said.

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