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Tokyo governor backs rape of Nanking denialAgence France-Presse in Tokyo25 February 2012Tokyo’s outspoken conservative governor said yesterday he agreed with the mayor of Nagoya’s statement that the 1937 rape of Nanking by Japanese troops never happened.Diplomatic sparks flew this week when Mayor Takashi Kawamura said he believed only a “conventional fight” took place in Nagoya’s sister city of Nanjing, as it is now known, instead of the well-documented massacre. China says 300,000 people were killed in an orgy of murder, rape and destruction when the eastern city - then the capital - fell to the Japanese Imperial Army, and the incident has haunted ties ever since.Beijing lodged a formal complaint over the denial and Nanjing officials said they were freezing twin city activities. But in a move that could further inflame emotions, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara backed the controversial claims. “What mayor Kawamura says is correct. I would like to defend him,” he said.Ishihara added that he believed it would have been physically impossible for the troops to kill so many people in such a short period of time, Jiji press reported him as saying.Xinhua issued a commentary late on Thursday criticising Kawamura’s remarks, saying the denial “has done much to spoil” this year’s 40th anniversary of the normalisation of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations.“Some Japanese political figures, especially right-wing politicians, have denied the Japanese invasion from time to time, a phenomenon that impairs mutual trust,” the Xinhua article said.On Monday, Kawamura told Liu Zhiwei, a high-level Communist Party official visiting Japan from Nanjing, that mass murders and rapes had not occurred - a belief he says is based on the experiences of his father, who was in Nanking in 1945 at the end of the Japanese occupation of China.Tokyo on Wednesday said the official government position on the sacking of the city had not changed. Spokesman Osamu Fujimura said: “We cannot deny that the killing of non-combatants, looting and other acts occurred” after the Japanese Imperial Army’s advance into Nanking.
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