Beijing: China’s national legislature today ratified a move to declare September 3 as a national day to mark its victory over Japan in WWII, amid spiralling tensions with Tokyo over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, (NPC) ratified September 3 as the victory day and December 13 the national memorial day for victims of the Nanjing massacre by Japanese troops, official media reported.

The victory day will be observed to mark the signing of the instrument of surrender by the Japanese government in 1945.

China’s historians assert that over three lakh people were killed in the Nanjing massacre.

 “Japanese troops started the massacre in Nanjing on December 13, 1937, killing more than 300,000 people in the following 40-odd days of atrocities,” a state-run Xinhua news agency report said.

“The approval of the national days has great historical significance and is a necessity in current circumstances,” said a foreign ministry official.

“We urge Japanese leaders to face squarely and reflect on Japan’s aggression history with a highly responsible attitude toward history, the people and the future, to correct their mistakes and change their course,” said the official.

The resolutions were adopted amid a glare of publicity in the official media arousing national sentiments against Japan.

The move came amidst a deepening dispute between the two countries over the islands in East China Sea.

State-run Global Times, in a scathing editorial, said: “Japan’s invasion of China was the most humiliating event for the Chinese people. We try to cover up that period of humiliation with heroism, a word that hardly convinces. It is time to face up to the war. We claimed the final victory, but the sacrifice we paid was devastating.

“The Nanjing Massacre may be the most bloody event during WWII where the brutality of Japanese troops and the incompetence of the Chinese government and army formed the sharpest contrast,” it said.

“The one that does not hold a correct attitude toward that part of history is China’s neighbour Japan. Its leadership keeps changing their attitudes, its society lacks consensus, and nationalistic sentiments constantly break out. They may feel unease about China’s establishment of commemorative days. Let it be,” the editorial said.

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