It is an image designed to strike at the heart of Japan's national psyche: the sight of mushroom clouds from atomic bombs rising above Hiroshima and Nagasaki published by a newspaper in China.

The images appeared in a publication called the Chongquing Youth Daily, as part a full page advert beneath the headline "Japan Wants a War Again".

Judging by the belligerent tone of the advert, it seems like China is spoiling for a fight as well. All press is tightly controlled by the ruling Communist party, with editors working to the official line.

However, the controversial image was nowhere to be found on the website of the state organ, meaning that party mandarins may have stepped in and ordered the publication to take it down.

Tensions between Japan and China have been high since the two neighbours got involved in tussles over disputed territories such as the Diayuo Islands in the East China Sea. There are regular occurrences of boats from the respective nations getting into argy-bargy in the sea around the disputed islands.

Meanwhile, Japan recently announced the end of its pacifist arms policy with the intention of getting on the front foot militarily, amid fears of an increasingly muscular foreign policy by Beijing.