However, Japan’s handling of the aftermath in the decades following caused tensions to reach a peak. Japan has never actually formally apologized to China for the massacre. What’s worse is that for years, Japanese officials either denied or downplayed the details of the massacre and school textbooks in Japanese schools either do not include or understate the severity of the attack. This has caused many Chinese citizens to hold a strong grudge to Japan. In a BBC 2014 World Service Poll, 73% of Japanese viewed China’s influence as negative with a whopping 90% of Chinese interviewed viewing Japan’s influence as negative. It does not help relations either that these two Asian economies are fundamentally different.
China is a communist nation that has long sided with the Soviet Union and later Russia while Japan is a democratic free-market economy that is a loyal ally of the USA. But this conflict is not insignificant in any sense as China is the second-largest global economy with Japan just behind at third. Both of these powerful states are battling for influence over the region and want to become the dominant Asian power. The two are currently in a dangerous dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea with both threatening war. Despite this, they remain trade partners and their respective economies are heavily reliant on trade with the other. Neither side wants to be the first to strike but if someone does lose their temper, you can guarantee it might get vicious.