Japan needs foresight in China relations

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail People's Daily, September 1, 2011
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Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda was elected head of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Aug. 29 and is therefore set to become the country's new prime minister. A major challenge facing Noda is how to properly handle China-Japan relations.

China and Japan are close neighbors, and Noda should take a far-sighted approach to managing the relations between the two countries.

As the new prime minister of Japan, Noda should take Japan, China, East Asia and the whole of Asia into consideration. A prime minister should not be selfish or shortsighted and instead should care about others and the long-term interests of his country.

Japan developed into a major power more than 100 years ago by "breaking away from Asia and merging into Europe." Will it consider "returning" to Asia to boost its economy and develop friendly relations with its neighboring countries? At present, Asia not only has a huge population and market but also possesses various advanced technologies.

The continent has become the engine for global economic growth, accounting for more than 45 percent of world economic growth in 2010. Certain far-sighted Japanese people suggested that the country should rethink the 150-year-old policy of "breaking away from Asia and merging into Europe" and shift its strategic focus to Asia.

There is a long tradition of cultural exchanges between China and Japan, which share common interests in many fields. Noda should adopt a far-sighted approach and take practical steps to promote China-Japan relations.

Will China follow a path of peaceful development? If Japan makes its judgment based on the history of its own development, it tends to misjudge China. Japan took the path of foreign aggression and expansion after its Meiji Restoration, which brought about severe miseries to Eastern Asian countries. However, the world has evolved from predatory and expansionist growth in the early period of the Industrial Revolution to complementary and sustainable growth that meets the demand of the technological and information revolutions and the green economy.

Generally, high-cost technological innovations need a large scale of economy to bolster them. The greater the market demand is, the lower the unit cost and the higher the motivation for technological innovations will be. China has a large population, a huge market and high domestic demand. Following the development of eastern China, the western China development and the rise of central and northeastern China have continued to expand a huge domestic market and produced a ripple effect on reducing technological costs and stimulating technological innovations. The development of China's tertiary industry and modern service sector as well as the western development can continuously absorb the surplus labor created by technological innovations. Therefore, China is engaging in a new type of industrialization based on technological and information revolutions and is seeking sustainable development through the transformation of its economic development pattern so that it need not and will never repeat Western countries' development paths characterized by foreign aggression.

The economies of China and Japan are both huge in size and are highly complementary. As the world's largest developing country, China needs Japan's technology and high-end products and should learn from Japan in many ways. As a trade and technology-oriented country, Japan needs China's market which is close to Japan and has great potential. Japan also needs low-priced daily necessities made in China. The two countries should cooperate in developing a low-carbon economy and preserving financial security.

China does not threaten any country and does not fear any country's threats. Solving disputes peacefully originates from China's peaceful development idea. Whoever does not understand it now can take his time to learn it, and whoever doubts it now can wait and see.

China and Japan share some culture. For example, the Buddhist cultural exchanges between the two countries have a very long history and once fostered deep friendship between the two countries. After the WW II, Buddhism was a catalyst for expanding people-to-people friendships and exchanges between the two countries and in evoking, communicating and repairing the emotions of the people in both countries. When the China-Japan relations face difficulties, cultural or civilian forces will always remove the obstacles, like a spring breeze greening both sides and a sea current flowing between the two sides ceaselessly.

We should never forget history, but should not cling to the hatred. It is lucky that the cultural communication between the two countries has a long history. More cultural communications will help strengthen the foresighted and rational considerations and mutual trust while reducing the rash and light-minded impulses and misjudgments.

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