As the physical damage caused by a month-long series of anti-Japanese demonstrations is methodically being repaired across China, there are strong indications that Japanese sentiment about the Middle Kingdom will not be so easily mended. The violent eruption of anger directed against Tokyo appears to have seriously harmed Japanese perceptions of its giant neighbor and generated a growing anti-Chinese mood. Unless leaders on both sides work hard to improve the situation, ties between the two peoples look set to deteriorate still further.
For the moment, bilateral tensions appear to be easing, especially after Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently expressed “deep remorse” and a “heartfelt apology” for Japan’s wartime wrongdoings in Jakarta before the Asia-Africa summit. Since then Beijing has adopted a tough policy towards unauthorized demonstrations, discouraged a boycott of Japanese goods, and toned down its own anti-Japanese rhetoric.