| A poster showing World War II Japanese soldiers killing Chinese in Nanjing is displayed in a Hong Kong shopping mall. (Reuters)
New Delhi, April 12 (Reuters): China's Premier told Japan today to 'face up to history' by admitting the suffering it caused in World War II, and seriously reconsider its bid for a UN Security Council seat after protests in China and elsewhere.
Japanese trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa, referring to China as a 'scary country', urged Beijing today to respond properly. Nakagawa said he was concerned about the impact of rising anti-Japanese sentiment on Japanese companies in China.
'Yes, I'm worried ... they're a country that's trying to become a market economy and we need them to take a proper response,' he said. 'It's a scary country.
Thousands of Chinese joined violent protests at the weekend at what many in Asia see as Japan's failure to own up to atrocities during and before World War II.
Premier Wen Jiabao said the protests should give Tokyo serious pause for thought about its bid for a Security Council seat. 'The strong responses from the Asian people should make the Japanese government have deep and profound reflections,' Wen said in New Delhi.
'Only a country that respects history, takes responsibility for past history and wins over the trust of people in Asia and the world at large can take greater responsibility in the international community,' he said. Anti-Japan sentiment has been running high in China since Japan approved a textbook critics say glosses over the brutalities of Japan's occupation of China from 1931 to 1945.
Wen said Japan should admit the 'tremendous suffering and hardship' it had inflicted on the people of China, Asia and the rest of the world.
'The core issue in China-Japan relations is that Japan needs to face up to history squarely,' Wen said, but added that the neighbours should continue to work 'to further friendly ties'.
Over the weekend, protesters burned the Japanese flag, bashed Japanese-made cars, targeted Japanese businesses and broke windows at the Japanese embassy in Beijing. Japanese TV showed police standing by while protesters threw stones at the embassy.
China overtook the US in 2004 to become Japan's biggest trading partner with about $178 billion in trade.
Two US-based human rights groups have accused China of using the law heavy-handedly to clamp down on Muslim Uighurs in its restive western region of Xinjiang in the name of anti-separatism and counter-terrorism.
Beijing's 'wholesale assault' on the Uighurs' faith ranged from vetting clerics and closing mosques to detaining thousands every year and executions, Human Rights Watch said.