The issue of Taiwan involves the political foundation of Sino-Japanese relations. After World War II, Japan returned Taiwan and Penghu Islands to China in accordance with the Cairo Proclamation and the Postsdam Proclamation. The Chinese authorities at that time sent officials to Taipei to receive the Japanese surrender on October 25, 1945, and announced the recapture of Taiwan to the whole world. From then on, in keeping the track of the United States, Japan recognized Taiwan and the Chiang Kaishek regime. Moreover, Japan adopted the “Theory of Uncertainty of the Jurisdiction over Taiwan” as a basic principle of its policy towards China. In 1972, under the “Nixon Shock” and strong domestic pressure, Mr. Kakuei Tanaka and Mr. Ohira and other Japanese statesmen speeded up the process of the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan so as to keep in conformity with the aspiration of Japanese people. The Tanaka Diet stated clearly that they fully understood the three principles for restoring diplomatic relations put forward by China, namely (1) The People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; (2) Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China; (3) The so-called “Peace Treaty” between Japan and the Chiang Kaishek authorities is illegal and invalid and must be annulled. Through repeated negotiations, the two sides signed the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement on September 29, 1972, in which the Article 3 said: “The government of the People's Republic of China reiterates that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. The government of Japan fully understands and respects this position of the government of the People's Republic of China, and shall firmly abide by the principles under Article 8 in the Potsdam Proclamation.” The above-mentioned facts have shown that the Taiwan issue between the two countries was politically settled through the normalization of the diplomatic relations. The two sides reached understanding on the nature and principles of handling Japanese-Taiwan relations.
China's position on Japanese-Taiwan relations is clear: China has no objection to people-to-people contacts between Japan and Taiwan. However, China firmly opposes any forms of official contacts between Japan and Taiwan, let alone any activities aiming at creating “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” The Chinese side also requires Japan to explicitly promise not to include Taiwan into the scope of US-Japanese security cooperation.
During his state visit to Japan in 1998, President Jiang made a comprehensive statement on Chinese principles and positions on the issues of Taiwan and the Japanese-Taiwan relations. The Japanese side once again reaffirmed their important commitment in this regard. Prime Minister Obuchi, during his visit to China, made a further statement that Japan would earnestly abide by the principles of the Joint Statement and Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation. Japan will not and must not participate in the activities of supporting for the “independence of Taiwan.” There is only one China. The issues across the Taiwan Straits should be resolved peacefully through dialogue by the Chinese themselves.
In 2001, the Japanese government allowed Lee Tenghui to visit Japan in name of receiving medical treatment, which undermined the bilateral relations. China waged rigorous struggle, demanding the Japanese government strictly abide by the letter and spirit of Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship and Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration and properly handle this problem in a bid to safeguard the overall interests of Sino-Japanese relations.