Chinese and Japanese business leaders and former high-ranking government officials met in Tokyo on Dec 5 and called for deepening industrial cooperation and exploring third-party markets.
The participants－32 from China and 52 from Japan－wound up the third round of their annual dialogue on Tuesday after brainstorming for two days on new approaches to advancing economic and trade cooperation.
Japanese business leaders said they will be actively involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, in which they seek to occupy a niche. They will join with their Chinese counterparts to expand cooperation in sectors like trade, investment and manufacturing while keeping bilateral economic and trade ties healthy and moving forward.
Business leaders in the two nations hope the initiative will be a way to cooperate in third-party markets, focusing on infrastructure, manufacturing and fields like artificial intelligence, elder care and tourism.
Former Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda said the dialogue is of importance to world economic development. “I fully agree to China’s strategy of development, its cooperation with the international community in particular, embodied in the report delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October,” he said.
Fukuda said he understands China’s development strategy. He described it like this: In the interest of a peaceful international environment and stable international order, China will strive for building new patterns of international relations with the rest of the world. They will respect one another, treat one another on an equal footing and develop mutually beneficial cooperation.
He said now is the opportune moment, appealing to the two countries to expand exchanges on all fronts.
When Xi met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month, they demonstrated the aspiration to improve bilateral ties, said former vice-premier Zeng Peiyan. Zeng, who is chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, an NGO, said he expected China-Japan relations will keep improving.
Premier Li Keqiang met with a delegation of 250 Japanese business leaders who visited China in October. The meeting, which lasted nearly an hour－much longer than scheduled－was of great significance for bilateral relations, said Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation.
Sakakibara said he was impressed with Li’s talk about China’s development plans and the importance the premier placed on additional exchanges between the economic and business circles of the two countries.
“Japan and China are irreplaceable partners separated by only a strip of water,” Sakakibara said. “We have built a close, mutually beneficial relationship after decades of exchange.”
Over 23,000 Japanese companies have invested a total of 720 billion yuan ($108.8 billion) in China, Sakakibara said. “In so doing, Japanese companies have contributed to China’s economic development,” he said. “I hope that they will continue to deepen economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.”
The participants agreed to have the dialogue’s fourth round in Beijing next year.