Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Tolerance Key to Future for Japan-China Relations

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Tolerance Key to Future for Japan-China Relations

Article excerpt

BEIJING -- This month marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China (see below). We spoke with famed intellectual Ma Licheng, a former commentator for the People's Daily newspaper in China who continues to advocate reconciliation between Japan and China on the basis of the reality of post-war Japan, over topics such as China's stance against Japan on historical issues.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: How would you describe current Japan-China relations?

Ma Licheng: There are signs of a recovery. Talks have taken place between [Chinese] President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and also between Xi and the Liberal Democratic Party's Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai, and they have expressed a desire to improve relations to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties. Things are on a positive course.

Q: Even now, Japan and China cannot overcome their historical issues.

A: Over a period of 45 years, Japan has expressed regret and apology at least 25 times. Former Premier Wen Jiabao praised Japan's historical perceptions in his speech in the Diet when he visited Japan [in 2007]. As a Chinese citizen, I am appealing for China to show tolerance, in the same way the United States shows tolerance in Japan-U.S. relations. Without tolerance, there is no future. China must not get caught up in resentment stemming from history.

Q: But Japan and China remain stuck in the positions of "assailant" and "victim." China, the "victim," continues to provoke Japan, inviting an angry response.

A: China was deeply wounded. It is a matter of course for China to require Japan to take responsibility for the war and reflect on it. On the other hand, exclusive nationalists in China are using the internet to amplify resentment. Over a three-year period, there were as many as 400 dramas broadcast on the theme of the war against Japan, but most of them were meaningless, with some even being nonsensical. Sad to say, they were publicizing resentment. Some people are also making fuss, claiming a revival of militarism in Japan. But in reality, the concept of peace is deeply rooted in Japanese people's hearts. If such people are writing their claims intentionally, it should be called agitation.

Q: Precisely.

A: I would also like to touch on the many Chinese tourists who come to Japan, whose number may reach as high as 7 million this year. Those who know Japan's high-quality products, meticulous service, clean envi-ronment, high level of courtesy and other virtues will grow to love Japan. Then they will visit two or three times a year, or even on every holiday. It's a good thing. Their perception of today's Japan has become very positive.

Q: However, in Japan, assertions that "China will collapse" are circulating widely.

A: That's a sign of Japanese nationalism. It is a reflection of extreme, one-sided and biased perspectives. Advocates of such opinions say China is bad in everything. …

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