Japanese Remarks About Taiwan Anger Beijing

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The quarrel between Tokyo and Beijing over Japan's colonial and wartime history spilled over to the sensitive topic of Taiwan over the weekend, after Japan's foreign minister praised his country's past rule over the island.

The minister, Taro Aso, said in a speech on Saturday that Taiwan's present high educational standards resulted from Japanese colonial policies. China, which ceded Taiwan after losing a war to Japan in 1895 and considers the island a renegade province, condemned the comments on Sunday.

Mr. Aso said that "thanks to the significant improvement in educational standards and literacy" during Japan's colonial rule, "Taiwan is now a country with a very high education level and keeps up with the current era."

"This is something I was told by an important figure in Taiwan and all the elderly people knew about it," he said, according to Kyodo News. "That was a time when I felt that, as expected, our predecessors did a good thing."

Mr. Aso, who is considered a hawk, angered China and South Korea last week when he said it would be appropriate for the emperor to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, the memorial that honors Japan's war dead as well as 14 Japanese war criminals.

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