Koizumi downplays tension with China and South Korea as he leaves for ASEAN summit – Mainichi Daily News
From Mainichi Daily News:
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dismissed as “temporary” deteriorating ties with China and South Korea as he left Sunday for an Asian summit and a maelstrom of anti-Japanese sentiment among Japan’s most important neighbors.
At the meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Koizumi is also expected to finalize a free-trade pact with host Malaysia and reportedly set up a US$100 million fund to help Southeast Asia fight bird flu and terrorism. But tensions between Japan and Beijing and Seoul will figure high on the agenda.
Although both countries remain important trade partners with Japan — China surpassed the United States last year as Japan’s biggest — relations have taken a beating by Koizumi’s repeated visits to a Tokyo war shrine that critics say glorifies the country’s militaristic past, including its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula and its 1937 invasion of China.