RIETI Report No.009: September 27, 2002

30th Anniversary of Normalization of Japan-China Ties
<RIETI Featured Fellow> TSUGAMI Toshiya

This month's featured article

30th Anniversary of Normalization of Japan-China Ties
<RIETI Featured Fellow> TSUGAMI Toshiya

TSUGAMI ToshiyaSenior Fellow, RIETI

Greetings from RIETI

Today is the 30th anniversary of diplomatic normalization between Japan and China. As the bilateral relationship is described as "near but far ties" or a "love-and-hatred relationship," subtle dissonances can occur, while the bilateral economic relationship is becoming ever closer. In fact, the relationship is so multi-tiered that it cannot only be expressed with the word friendship. In commemorating the 30th anniversary, what is lacking between Japan and China, and what can we do to realize a healthier relationship? RIETI Report introduces an interview with Senior Fellow Toshiya Tsugami, and China-related projects at RIETI.


Mr. Tsugami has been a senior fellow at RIETI since June 2002. After receiving a B.A. in Law from University of Tokyo, he joined MITI. He served as Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy of Japan in Beijing from 1996 to 2000. As a Director for the North East Asia of METI, he engaged himself in successfully solving agricultural disputes between China and Japan. In September 2001, he organized the "Japan China Economic Conference," a joint event held by METI, RIETI and other organizations, inviting private entrepreneurs from China. Currently, he is preparing for the second Japan China Economic Conference "Japan and China revisited: China's dynamism, Japan's strength, fully exploited?" (November 7&8 2002) to promote an exchange among entrepreneurs of both countries.

For RIETI Special Round-table Talk Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Normalization of Japan-China Diplomatic Relations.
Click here

For his article "Highways Hollowing Out Japan?" Miyakodayori 49,
see Miyakodayori's new website: Click here

The following is the summary of Mr. Tsugami's remarks in the interview with RIETI Report.

As Japan and China celebrate the 30th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations, the sense of accomplishment is not what comes to my mind. Rather, I keenly feel the lack of true communications between the two countries. It is necessary that we both make efforts to make our ideas understood by the other side, expressing our views candidly but not quarreling or asserting ourselves too much. For instance, the Japanese people generally hold the image of China as being "self-centered" as represented by the idea of "China as the middle kingdom." Putting aside the 1970s and 1980s, however, China today would like to get involved with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, the Chinese people typically view Japan as a militarist country. But in reality, the "patriotism" has been turned into a taboo in the postwar Japan and today we see an increasing number of young people who do not even have a natural love for his country. Because Japan is a democratic state, the ultra-rightists are guaranteed the freedom of speech just like anyone else here. When the Chinese ask about ultra-rihtists' "militaristic statements" as if they were a widely held idea in Japan, it is hurtful to ordinary Japanese people.

In Japan, there generally exists frustration that we are not being understood by the Chinese people and I believe this is because of the lack of people-to-people communications between our two countries. Ordinary Chinese people build up their image of Japan through movies, TV programs and books, without getting a chance to have direct contacts with Japan or Japanese people. Japan should provide opportunities for them to get to know Japan in a more objective manner. Today, the problems of a number of illegal immigrants and crimes involving foreigners are becoming serious in Japan. Given this circumstance, it is to some extent understandable that the Japanese authorities put controls on immigration. However, I feel there might be some ways to enable more Chinese ? those belonging to reliable corporations and organizations ? to freely come to Japan. Although it is still on an experimental stage, the Japanese government issued multi visas to some 150 Chinese business people who attended the RIETI-sponsored "Japan China Economic Conference" in 2001 and 2002.

Japan-China relations in the coming years should be one in which our two countries develop together through "competition" and "cooperation." At the same time, Japan and China bear significant responsibility as major powers in Asia. The Integration of Asia has been a hot issue in recent years and this will proceed even without urging. When this happens, it would inflict substantial pain upon Japanese farmers and the Chinese automotive industry. Given the state of political relations between Japan and China, it would be a no easy task to realize integration. One thing sure, however, is that the future course of Asian integration depends on whether Japan and China can maintain a strong will to achieve it. (Original in Chinese)

RIETI China Related Project

RIETI is actively engaged in Japan-China economic and political research. We have fellows and staff who are from China, and we have a very unique Chinese website. For those who can read Chinese, please enjoy it: http://www.rieti.go.jp/cn/index.html

For C.H. Kwan's "China in Transition," click here

For MENG Jianjun's Column "Economic Structural Reform and Labor Market Formation in China," click here

For BBL talk by MENG Jianjun on China's employment issue, click here

For ANEPR Series symposium "Asian Economic Integration" - Current Status and Future Prospects- click here


to promote on-the-Web discussions on government policies and current issues, we started new project called "RIETI Policy Debate." We will put not only our fellows' opinion, but also outside experts, policymakers and journalists.
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