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Chinese Nanjing memorial hall asks after Kumamoto 'friends' following quake

BEIJING -- A memorial hall in China for the Nanjing Massacre during the Second Sino-Japanese war has posted an online message asking after the well-being of people in Kumamoto Prefecture, winning support from Chinese Internet users and garnering media attention in China.

On the night of April 15, the "Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders" posted a message, which read in part, "Friends, are you all right?" to its official social networking service (SNS) site. It was asking after the well-being of members of the Kumamoto Prefecture Japan-China Friendship Association, who have visited the memorial hall every year for over 20 years to offer condolences to the Nanjing victims.

The post noted that Kumamoto Prefecture was the base for the Imperial Japanese Army's 6th Division, which is said to have been involved in the massacre, and that members of the Kumamoto Prefecture Japan-China Friendship Association regularly invite survivors to speak in Japan. According to the hall, by 5 p.m. the next day the post had been viewed over 3 million times, and it had been reposted over 10,000 times on SNS sites.

Reactions from Chinese Internet users were largely positive, such as "Memories (of things like the Nanjing Massacre) are not there so that we can hate," and "I oppose militarism (like that in Japan before and during World War II), but the current Japan is different."

On April 16, the hall posted again on its official SNS site, emphasizing, "We mustn't forget the massacre and other history." It also wrote, "There was a greater-than-expected response (to the earlier post.) We were happy with the coolheaded and humane response from Internet users."

The secretariat for Kumamoto Prefecture's Japan-China Friendship Association released a comment calling the post by the Nanjing facility "A message of support for which we are thankful," adding, "We hope that this will help improve China's reputation and lead to friendship between the two countries."

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