year commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Japan-China Peace and
Friendship Treaty signed in August 1978. An era has passed that the two
countries merely celebrate friendship. It is time for both of the nations to create
circumstances in which they should play respective roles to contribute to peace
not only in the Asian region but also in the rest of the world on the basis of
– Human factor is the key
the two countries reestablished diplomatic relations in 1972 with a fantastic help
of pandas, friendly relations began. Then a bad mood prevailed over the dispute
of the Senkaku Islands. Root problems, however, are
left behind today, though bilateral behaviors seem to have gone through thorny years.
For these decades the relations have swung between the two extremes.
It is because Japan
has not yet reached reconciliation with Asian nations although it is over 70
years after its unconditional surrender in the WWII. People’s crooked feelings
are not seen on the surface when the bilateral affairs are good and positive,
but the sentiments are kept extensively in the mind of two peoples.
Japanese premiers visit the Yasukuni Shrine. Arguments are sharp on school
history textbooks. These incidents prove absence of prudence of politicians and
their associates who do not understand the history. The Japanese ruling class
has been reluctant for years to evaluate rightly its aggression and colonial
rule on China;
it has been deliberate in erasing memories of historic truths. Policymakers
should be blamed.
here I would like to point out ‘national identity’. Because I think it is
individuals, each and every of us, that should play a role to resolve historic
of civic exchanges
was civic level exchanges that opened a door of friendship between China and Japan after the WWII. The then-prime
minister Tanaka Kakuei told when he visited Beijing in 1972 to conclude a treaty to normalize
the diplomatic relations; ‘I could finally come here today, tracing the long
way of people’s exchanges between the two countries’. He knew about the history
of citizens’ interactions.
was not, however, Japan’s
independent, pro-active efforts that realized normalization. Japan was triggered by a visit to China by the
then-President of the United States Richard Nixon in the same year. Until that
time the Japanese governments had worked as an actor to ‘defend from communism’
and had clung to the containment policy.
good versus minor differences
to abrupt changes in the political direction both of the two governments and
peoples had not been well ready to have common notion in understanding the
Treaty of Reestablishment of Diplomatic Relations and Friendship.
proverb says: you should sink minor differences for the sake of common good. People
were optimistic at the beginning, but the differences have not yet been conquered
for the course of 40 years. Japanese people have not fully understood tragic
experiences of Chinese people who suffered extraordinary agonies and developed own
people are required to reply sincerely to peoples in Asia
and the rest of the world which undergo rapid, drastic changes: what proactive role
should we play?
say that ‘we cannot change the past and other people, but we can change the
future and ourselves’. Both of the two peoples respect peace, prosperity and
the human rights. We can open a new path together with peoples of other nations
for the future of Asia.
Xun said: I cannot say hopes exist naturally, nor, hopes do not exist at all.
Hopes may be a path on the ground. No path is seen at the initial moment. If
many people come to follow, they will open a path’.