The sister-city relationship between the Japanese city of Nagoya and the Chinese city of Nanjing has been suspended, after Nagoya’s mayor said to a visiting Chinese delegation that the 1937 Nanjing massacre, when the Japanese army is believed to have murdered thousands of civilians, did actually not happen.
This was a rather unusual statement, as these kinds of denials, when expressed by Japanese conservatives, are not made in such a public manner. As a consequence, the city of Nanjing decided to suspend its friendly relationship with Nagoya.
The matter of the 1937 massacre is sensitive in the two countries, with many Japanese believing that the dimensions are exaggerated by the Chinese government, which claims that 300,000 civilians had been killed.
Nagoya’s mayor, Takashi Kawamura, said he did not intend to retract the statement. He said that his father had been a soldier in Nanjing in 1945, and since he was kindly treated by locals, it would have been impossible that a massacre had taken place there only eight years earlier.
“There are many opinions about the so-called Nanjing incident,” he said. “I have said I want to have a debate with people from Nanjing.”