Japan-China Joint History Research Committee Members Pay Courtesy Call on Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs

March 23, 2007

From 17:30 on March 19 (Mon), the Japanese and Chinese members of the Japan-China Joint History Research Committee, who have been meeting from March 19 in Tokyo, made a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Taro Aso.  The gist of the call is as follows:

1.   Mr. Bu Ping, Chairman of the Chinese side, told Minister Aso as follows:

(1)  During the past two meetings, the Japanese and Chinese scholars have conducted discussions in a very friendly atmosphere.  Geographically Japan and China are very close, but there is some distance in the hearts and minds between Japanese and Chinese.  There can be many reasons why the distance has grown.  We are sure that frank discussions in the past two meetings have deepened the mutual understanding between the Japanese and the Chinese committee members.

(2)  The framework of the Japan-China Joint History Research was developed by an agreement between the leaders of Japan and China.  The Committee’s first meeting was held in Beijing in December last year.  We expect that mutual understanding will be deepened between, first, scholars and then the people of Japan and China.

(3)  Premier Wen Jiabao will soon be visiting Japan.  Premier Wen describes his forthcoming visit to Japan as an “ice-thawing journey.”  We intend to successfully proceed with this joint research so that Premier Wen’s visit will be successful and Japan-China relations in the future will go in the right direction.


2.   In response, Minister Aso said:

(1)  I welcome the successful holding of the second meeting with Chairman Bu and other Chinese members invited to Japan.  I understand that the second meeting will be very important in that concrete agenda items will be formulated and that discussions will be held on how to bring about substantial results.  I expect you will have significant discussions on March 20, too.

(2)  As this year marks the 70th year of the occurrence of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the Nanjing Incident, historical issues are liable to come to the fore.  Great difficulty could arise when we observe the long history of Japan and China, but the important thing is to use scholastic methodology based on objective facts.

(3)  To that end, it will be essential to create an environment in which committee members will have free and frank discussion and afterwards introduce to each other the opinions to their country, although there will be differences in views, and criticism coming from outside the committee.

(4)  Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Japan in April.  The Government of Japan regards Premier Wen’s visit as very important in order to demonstrate “a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests,” a new guideline of Japan-China relations, to the people of Japan and China and to the international community.  The Japanese side, together with the Chinese side, has been keenly working on the preparations for his visit.  I have great expectations that the joint research will be fruitful also in making Premier Wen’s visit to Japan successful.   


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