Japanese enterprises are expected to play an active role supporting China's efforts to build an environment-friendly society following President Hu Jintao's "warm spring" visit.
Before flying home on Saturday, Hu visited the headquarters of electronics giant Matsushita - maker of Panasonic products - where he asked the firm to collaborate in environmental protection technology.
Hu said China is committed to building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society, and needs help with advanced technology from the organization, one of the top sponsors of the Beijing Olympic Games.
He noted that the visit by late leader Deng Xiaoping to the company 30 years ago, when the country began its reform and opening up, made Matsushita the first Japanese enterprise to join China's modernization drive.
Japanese business circles are enthused about Hu's remarks. Fumio Ohtsubo, president of Matsushita, was quoted as saying Panasonic's global operations are the result of its 30-year collaboration with China, which has become the growth driver for the company.
Haruyasu Nagata, president of Sony (China) Ltd, told journalists that the company is looking at China as its second-largest market after the United States and will strengthen its operation platform in the country to achieve the goal.
Last year, China was Japan's largest trade partner while Japan was China's third largest with bilateral trade maintaining double-digit growth rate year-on-year.
According to Customs figures, the thrust of bilateral trade is shifting from low added-value goods, such as raw materials and textiles, to technology-intensive products. Trade in electronic and machinery products accounted for almost half of the US$236 billion trade last year.
Gao Hong, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Japan enjoy great potential in economic cooperation as the two economies are complementary to each other and Hu's visit has provided added impetus.
Chu Xiaobo at Peking University said the two countries now see opportunities in collaborating on environment protection, energy saving, finance and trade sectors.
Ministry of Commerce figures show that Japan's actual direct investment in China was a cumulative US$60.7 billion by the end of last year. A number of Japanese businesses have moved their manufacturing bases to China, and many are investing in new areas, such as research and development, finance and logistics.
(China Daily May 12, 2008)