China has attacked a proposal by a Japanese city to list letters written by World War II kamikaze pilots on a United Nations register.
The Japanese city of Minami-Kyushu has made a bid to include the farewell letters of suicide pilots on a UNESCO world memory list.
The same register also contains the diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who hid in Amsterdam with her family in an attempt to avoid Nazi deportation. She died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in 1945.
China's foreign ministry says the plan is part of an effort to glorify Japan's aggressive military history and challenge the victory over fascism.
"This is an effort to beautify Japan's history of militaristic aggression, and challenge the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the post-war international order," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Ms Hua added that Japan had committed "numerous" crimes against humanity during World War II.
"This effort runs completely counter to UNESCO's objective of upholding world peace, and will inevitably meet strong condemnation and resolute opposition from the international community," she said.
The Chiran Peace Museum in Minami-Kyushu wants to win registration in 2015, "to forever hand down the letters to generations to come as a treasure of human life", it said on its website.
The kamikaze letters are included in thousands of items kept at the museum, left behind by 1,036 pilots who died in suicidal attacks on enemies in the final years of World War II.
One comparison that was made was with the suicide bombers of Al Qaida. These letters may help us understand the mindset of such people.
I think that's a very simplistic approach. There are right wing elements in Japan that still glorify the kamikaze, but they're quite small. These were letters written by young men about to die, and as such there's a greater urgency than other letters sent home from combat. They could say something very valuable about the human condition, and give greater understanding on how to stop things like this happening again. UNESCO heritage status will make them more easily available for future academics. Any decision should look at their relative value, weighed up against ethical considerations. It shouldn't be reduced to a Japan vs China, decision. That would be childish in the extreme.
Total trade between China and Japan was almost $334 billion in 2012. For Japan, struggling to emerge from two decades of economic malaise, exports to burgeoning China are a key source of growth. Companies from Sony to Toyota desperately need Chinese consumers to buy their cars and TVs to offset a sluggish home market and compete with rivals like GM and Samsung. But the relationship is hardly a one-way street. China imports more from Japan than any other country, and many of those goods are indispensable to China’s economic advance — high-tech components to fuel its export machine and capital equipment for its expanding industries. Japan also possesses special expertise in technologies that China badly needs for its future development, such as energy efficiency and other eco-friendly know-how that could help China contend with the environmental damage brought about by rapid industrialization.