As Premier Li Keqiang pays an official visit to Japan, the first by a Chinese Premier in eight years, several Japanese media outlets expect the two countries to promote economic cooperation and reshape bilateral ties.
On May 8, the day Premier Li arrived in Tokyo, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun published a signed article by the Premier, which said, “I am coming here to promote the long-term, healthy and steady development of China-Japan relations.”
Asahi Shimbun said it is expected that China and Japan will reach various consensus on economic cooperation, including exploring other countries’ markets under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Premier said in his article that China will negotiate to sign a currency swap agreement with Japan and grant a quota for RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) to Japan. Asahi Shimbun commented that it means China will normalize economic ties with Japan to the same level as with European countries and America.
Tokyo Shimbun, another Japanese newspaper, underlined the special timing of the Premier’s visit, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship and the 10th anniversary of the China-Japan-ROK trilateral meeting.
On May 9, NHK television reported on the “China-Japan-ROK+X” cooperation mode, which was proposed by Premier Li at the 7th China-Japan-ROK trilateral meeting, aimed at promoting cooperation on capacity, poverty alleviation and energy conservation.
In fact, voice is growing in Japan calling on the government to seize the opportunity to improve the bilateral relationship and economic cooperation.
Tokyo Shimbun called on the two countries to walk together in mutual trust and reshape ties.
It is also in agreement with the Premier’s vision with his visit. He said in the article, “If China-Japan relations can always stay on the right track of healthy and stable development, it would not only bring more benefits to people of the two countries, but also create a stronger boost to the peace and stability, and development and prosperity of Northeast Asia and the whole world.”
The Belt and Road Initiative is seen as a new platform for the two countries’ cooperation.
“The economic sector in Japan has a strong voice to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative,” said an honorary professor at University of Tsukuba. “Delays in participation will be an obstacle to Japan’s development.”