TOKYO, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Japanese civil groups issued a joint statement on Tuesday to commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the "July 7 Incident," calling on people not to forget history, oppose the war and enhance the friendship between Japan and China.
On July 7, 1937 Japanese soldiers attacked Chinese forces at the Lugou Bridge, also known as the Marco Polo Bridge, marking the beginning of Japan's full-scale invasion of China and eight-year atrocities perpetrated by Japanese army on Chinese civilians.
Japanese civil groups Japan-China Friendship August 15 Association and Continuing the Miracle of Fushun Society, among some others, used to organize a rally at the anniversary. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak this year, they issued a joint statement instead.
Japan must recognize the nature of the aggressive war, and only through a true understanding and reflection upon history can there be real peace between neighboring countries, they said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the civil groups vowed to continue to work together to safeguard peace of Japan and the world at large and maintain Japan-China friendship.
Mitsuyoshi Himeda, head of Continuing the Miracle of Fushun Society told Xinhua that recognizing and facing up to history is an important prerequisite for people from Japan and China to deepen understanding and enhance mutual trust.
Nobuo Okimatsu, a 95-year-old member of Japan-China Friendship August 15 Association, said the Japanese people should study history seriously and develop a correct view of history.
Japanese invasion of China has inflicted untold sufferings on the Chinese people. If this fact can not be frankly acknowledged, there will be no real Japan-China friendship, he added.