China's top leaders on Wednesday commemorated 69 years since the surrender of Japan, Beijing's former colonial occupier, in World War II.
All seven members of China's powerful Politburo Standing Committee, including President Xi Jinping, attended a ceremony in Beijing to mark the occasion.
China's legislature earlier this year designated September 3 as a national day to remember the defeat of Japan by China, with the help of Allied forces.
Japan invaded China in 1931, though full-scale hostilities did not begin until 1937. China estimates over 20 million people died in the eight-year conflict.
Seven decades later, resentment towards Japan still lingers in China and is worsened by a dispute over territory in the East China Sea.
Many Chinese are also upset Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited a controversial shrine that includes convicted World War II war criminals among those it honors.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said Wednesday that Tokyo hopes China can look toward the future, and not the past.
"Japan and China share the same responsibility to pursue the peace and prosperity of the international community, and it is important to have a future-oriented attitude toward a cooperative relationship in order to deal with the common challenges that the world faces," said Suga.
Suga said the international community has recognized that Japan has made advances as a peaceful country since World War II.