H.K. activists protest against Japan's "military ambitions"

Activists and political groups protested Thursday at the Japanese Consulate General in Hong Kong against what they call the revival of Japanese militarism, demanding an apology and compensation for victims of the country's wartime atrocities as Asia marked the anniversary of the end of World War II.

"We are not urging people to take revenge on Japanese people, but we want to remind everyone who loves peace of the atrocity of war," said Lo Chau, head of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, an activist group supporting China's claim over the Japan-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.

According to Lo, Japan has not truly repented for their wartime crimes, saying Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has become more ambitious in reviving militarism by turning the Self-Defense Forces into a military force.

"The United States' returning the right of control of the Diaoyu islands to Japan was also a violation of the Cairo Declaration. The U.S., Britain and China have duties to enforce the treaty, restrict Japan from amending the Pacifist Constitution to rebuild a military force, which will be very dangerous," he said.

To protest the developments, an activist landed on one of the Senkaku islets last year to declare sovereignty, with a group trying to repeat the action this year. The mission had to be postponed, however, due to a boat licensing issue.

Other groups protesting at the consulate included a teachers union, political groups and the Hong Kong Reparation Association, a civilian group highlighting the "Military Yen," the official currency forced upon the local population during Japan's 44-month occupation of Hong Kong.

The groups also voiced their outrage about the visit Thursday by Japanese ministers to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, seen in China as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.