China said Wednesday it would make Sept. 3 a national holiday this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Reuters reported.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement on its website it had set the holiday to “mark the victory of its war against Japan” and allow people to take part in commemorative events.
Diplomatic ties between the two historical foes have been strained since late 2012 because of a territorial dispute over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The spat led to large-scale anti-Japan protests across China and boycotts of Japanese goods.
Sales of Japanese cars fell by half in late 2012.
Many Japanese executives in China have cited the 70th anniversary as a risk to business this year if it leads to a rise in anti-Japanese sentiment in the world’s second-biggest economy.
A front-page editorial Sunday in China’s official People’s Daily praised German leaders for facing up to war crimes committed during the war, saying that stands in contrast to Japan’s failure to reflect on its past.
China, which has repeatedly urged Japan to face up to its past, says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the 1937 Nanjing massacre. A postwar Allied tribunal put the death toll at 142,000.
In a speech to the US Congress last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “deep repentance” over Japan’s role in World War II and upheld statements by his predecessors but stopped short of issuing his own apology.
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