Sino-Japan ties see progress
China’s embassy hosts Abe at anniversary event
The relationship between China and Japan has improved recently though more sincerity should be seen from the Japanese government for longterm, sustainable ties between the two Asian giants, Chinese experts noted Thursday, one day before the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic ties.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended an event commemorating the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic ties at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo Thursday, the first time a Japanese prime minister has attended such an event in 15 years.
During the event, Abe said he expected a dialogue between the leaders of the two countries to promote the bilateral relationships, Kyodo News Agency reported.
Cheng Yonghua, Chinese Ambassador to Japan, said that the relationship between the two countries is on a stable path of improvement despite various complicating factors.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo Tuesday, Cheng noted the lack of political trust between the two sides, as bilateral relations face challenges of sovereignty and history.
“The biggest problems that are hurting bilateral relations are Japan’s attitude toward history and territorial disputes,” said Gao Hong, deputy director with the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Despite the Japanese government’s bigotry in denying history and high-level officials’ constant visits to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, the Japanese public and media’s attitude toward history is changing, he said.
In August, The Truth of Harbin Unit 731 was released by Japanese public broadcaster NHK. It revealed the outrageous crimes committed by Unit 731, a covert biological and chemical warfare research unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, triggering heated discussions among Japanese audiences.
More Japanese youth are learning Chinese and their attitudes toward history are gradually changing as more people are willing to admit the truth, said 27-year-old Chinese David Zhang, who has been working in Japan for five years.
Cheng noted that more Japanese have positive views on China’s Belt and Road initiative, and some Japanese enterprises have already cooperated with Chinese partners on infrastructure and logistics projects.
Though bilateral ties are complicated, they should be maintained in a stable manner, not only because it is of vital importance to the AsiaPacific region, but also because both countries are important trade partners, said Lü Yaodong, director of the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Japan is China’s biggest foreign investor while China is Japan’s major foreign market, Cheng said.
“To push forward bilateral relations, the Japanese government should show their sincerity and that they no longer view China as an enemy but as a friendly neighbor who offers mutual benefits,” Lü noted.