Sino-Japanese Relations Recovering – Axel Berkofsky

From ISN Security Watch:

Business and trade ties between Japan and China are soaring while tense political relations are only slowly recovering from a five-year low under former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The moderate forces in both countries are holding out hope that the recent Japanese-Sino rapprochement is sustainable and strong enough to survive disagreements over the interpretation over World War II, territorial disputes in the East China Sea and visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the last resting place of a number of convicted World War II A-class criminals of war.

Apart from recently claiming (and later apologizing when outside pressure made an apology unavoidable) that there is no evidence that Japan’s Imperial Army kidnapped women and forced them to work as prostitutes during World War II, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a remarkably good start as far as his China policies are concerned. [Full Text]

Dr Axel Berkofsky is Associate Policy Analyst at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre (EPC) and Adjunct Professor at the University of Milan, Italy. Read also Hu: Sino-Japan Ties Face Opportunities by Le Tian:

… “Time can change one’s appearance, but it can’t change the friendship between the two peoples,” Hu said, recalling the largest-ever gathering of its kind 23 years ago.

Addressing the delegation led by former Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, he said the two countries should build their partnership with a “bilateral, regional and global” perspective for mutual benefit.

However, Hu noted, the relationship should be built on the principle of “taking history as a mirror and looking to the future”.

“Developing a long-term, good-neighborly friendship conforms to the interests of the two countries and the two peoples and is also conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large.” [Full Text]

And see Japan Ruling MPs Call Nanjing Massacre Fabrication by George Nishiyama:

A group of Japanese ruling party lawmakers denounced the Nanjing Massacre as a fabrication on Tuesday, contesting Chinese claims that Japanese soldiers killed hundreds of thousands after seizing the Chinese city in 1937.

The members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said there was no evidence to prove mass killings by Japanese soldiers in the captured Nationalist capital, then known as Nanking. They accused Beijing of using the alleged incident as a “political advertisement”.

“Japan’s occupation of Nanjing was nothing more nor less than an ordinary battlefield,” the group said in a statement at a news conference, where it presented documents it said supported its views. [Full Text]

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