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Japan, China to Conduct Joint Study of Wartime History

A Japanese official says Beijing and Tokyo have decided to conduct a joint study of their wartime history to try to resolve disputes over Japan's militaristic past.

The official says Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing agreed on the study at a meeting Thursday in Hanoi, where they attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

The official says the joint study is aimed at deepening the two countries' objective understanding of history.

Japan and China have sharply differing interpretations of their past conflicts. Beijing regularly accuses Tokyo of downplaying atrocities committed by Japanese troops during their invasion and occupation of China in the 1930s and 40s.

The study is to be carried out by two groups of Japanese and Chinese academics, one focussing on ancient history, and the other on modern history, including the World War Two period.

The agreement calls for the study groups to report on their findings by the end of 2008.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.