« 税制改革工程表 | トップページ | 全治3年の発想 »

2008年10月27日 (月)


2008/10/27--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 25(IHT/Asahi: October 27,2008)

EDITORIAL: 30 years of Japan-China relations


On October 23, 1978, the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty came into effect. In those days, Japan was the country on the rise. In China, the chaos of the Cultural Revolution was only two years in the past. There was a wide economic gap between the two nations. It has been 30 years since then. The economic relationship between the two countries has changed dramatically.


Nowadays, China is a great power both politically and economically.


As two of the world's major powers, how should the two countries design the next 30 years?


Soon after the peace treaty was signed, the Chinese Communist Party decided to embark upon reform and an open-door policy. The following year, Japan began its official development aid (ODA) program for China, and supported China's development with funds and technology.

On the Japanese side, there was the feeling that Japan was helping China in lieu of paying compensation for World War II. And now, the global community looks toward the two countries to support the world besieged by the global financial crisis.


This change is the result of the past 30 years. But on the other hand, there is still deep-rooted mistrust between the peoples of the two countries.


The first decade of the past 30 years went by smoothly. According to public opinion polls conducted by the government, roughly 70 percent of the Japanese public had favorable opinions toward China. But this number plummeted in 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square Incident. The Japanese public bitterly realized the difficulties of dealing with a country with a different political system.


In 2004, when there was much talk over China's "anti-Japan" crowds at soccer games, and also in 2005 when there were the anti-Japan demonstrations, the Japanese public's favorability numbers toward China dropped to the 30-percent range. This was in tandem with a worsening anti-Japanese sentiment among the Chinese public. In a joint public opinion survey conducted by The Asahi Shimbun and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 64 percent of Chinese surveyed said they disliked Japan.


On the Chinese side, there is much resentment over Japan's indifference to its past history, as evidenced by events like former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine.


On the Japanese side, there seems to be several factors, such as the loss of confidence since the bubble economy burst, that make Japanese more likely to see China as a threat.


The two countries' paths highlight the difficulties of their bilateral relationship. Nevertheless, they mutually agreed to start taking measures that aid both nations, coming up with the notion of a "mutually beneficial strategic relationship" two years ago.


When Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Japan in May this year, the two countries agreed to cooperate in their contributions to Asia and the world. Prime Minister Taro Aso also announced his intentions on Friday at the 30th anniversary ceremony to "work together and grow together for a more vigorous, more open Asia."


There are many issues Japan and China can cooperate and work together on: coping with the regional financial crisis; nuclear disarmament of North Korea; global warming; creating a regional immediate response system for natural disasters or infectious diseases.


We urge China to work toward making their policy-making process and their military and security policies more transparent. We also would like to see a much more cooperative China in participating in the international community's collective actions.


In this region, the Japan-U.S. alliance plays an important role, but these days, U.S.-China relations are also growing closer.


Maintaining stable trilateral relations among Japan, the United States and China will become increasingly important.


If Japan and China can succeed in collaborating and contributing to the world, then that will help foster trust between the two countries, which in turn will help us open up our hearts to each other. We hope the next 30 years will be like that.



« 税制改革工程表 | トップページ | 全治3年の発想 »





« 税制改革工程表 | トップページ | 全治3年の発想 »