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China Japan Relations
Special> China Japan Relations
UPDATED: April 9, 2007 NO.15 APR.12, 2007
Enhancing Cooperation
Premier Wen's visit is very important. We wish to promote such a good atmosphere between the two countries. We expect it will provide an impetus to move each issue forward, for example, cooperation on the environment or cooperation in cultural exchanges

Admittedly, bilateral ties have suffered from some problems, some old, some new. What are the hurdles to the successful settlement of these issues? What measures should the two sides take to remove these obstacles?

People sometimes tend to see only problems. At this moment, Japan-China relations are basically developing quite well. Our relations are moving forward smoothly. Our relations are developing in terms of trade and investment and the exchange of people. At this moment, we do not have a trade conflict with China. For example, China has some trade conflicts with the United States and with European countries over shoes, clothing and textiles. They impose antidumping duties and so forth. Japan's economic structure has changed. We can smoothly cooperate with China. We do not impose antidumping duties on Chinese shoes and textiles. You should notice this aspect also. Of course, we are neighbors. Between neighbors conflicts may arise, which is maybe natural. We should not dramatize these issues. We should not make it too emotional. We should contain, and we should balance. This is the duty for both governments and diplomats.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan. What activities will be held to commemorate the event?

We are going to celebrate the 35th anniversary of bilateral ties. There are more than 200 events this year, some of which are posted on the website of the embassy.

We have several ideas. Japan will send 20,000 people to China in September and October. And we expect many Chinese people to visit Japan. The Japanese people have traditional festivals at which they dress in the traditional costume, the kimono. During the festival, which is like a carnival, 200 Japanese people will come to China to dance. Governments and private companies will organize these activities. This is an exchange between local cities. We encourage Japanese people to not only visit Beijing and Shanghai but also other cities like Dalian and Guangzhou.

Besides the 35th anniversary, there are some other anniversaries of historical events, such as the Nanjing Massacre and the Lugoqiao Incident. Are these anniversaries opportunities or challenges for bilateral ties?

We should face history squarely. We have a joint study of history. This is a very important development. If there are some areas that are not clear to historians of both countries, let the historians sit together. They should discuss and sort out the issue: On this part we have a common understanding, but on this part we need more study. We encourage historians to do such a job. Otherwise, sometimes such matters may be politicized. To politicize historical issues is quite unfortunate sometimes. If in some areas historians have different opinions, we should sit down and calmly approach these issues. We have high expectations that these people will produce positive results. These people are expected to prepare a report next year. If necessary, such work will be continued. I think this will help us to understand each other better.

As the spokesman of the Embassy of Japan in China, what are the most difficult and pleasant parts in your effort to introduce your country to China?

Some Chinese people have the misunderstanding that Japan is still a militaristic country. For Japanese who grew up after the war, it is impossible to have such a malicious intent. It is difficult for ordinary Chinese people to understand that Japan has changed after World War II. They still have a negative image of Japan. From what I understand, the difficulty for us to understand each other is that we have different political systems. It is easy for the French and Germans to understand each other because they have the same political system.

Bai Yansong [an anchorman with China Central Television (CCTV)] is working on a program about Japan. Two years ago, it was very difficult for Chinese TV people to make such a program. At a news conference, I was surprised to hear Mr. Bai saying, "The Chinese people tend to believe that they know Japan well, but in fact, the Chinese people do not know Japan. In comparison, Japanese scholars have studied China carefully. It is high time for the Chinese people to know Japan as it is." I was very happy to hear it, and I think Mr. Bai is courageous. [With programs like this] my work this year is much easier and happier than last year.

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