| 9 February 2023, Thursday |

Important to build ‘constructive and stable ties’ with China, says Japanese FM

While calling for responsible behaviour from China, Japan’s new foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, on Thursday said that it was important to build constructive and stable ties with its neighbour.
Ties between Japan and China have not been so good due to territorial dispute over a group of tiny East China Sea islets as well as the legacy of Japan’s past military aggression.
Hayashi, in his first news conference as a foreign minister, stressed the importance of constructive, stable relations with China.
“Ties between Japan and China are increasingly important not just for our two countries, but for the peace and prosperity of the region and the international community,” Hayashi said.
“We need to assert and ask for responsible behaviour while at the same time, maintain dialogue and firmly cooperate on shared challenges,” he added.
However, he did not elaborate on what he meant by responsible behaviour. Hayashi also said he would step down as head of the Japan-China Parliamentarians’ Friendship League to avoid “unnecessary misunderstanding”.
A state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping was scheduled for 2020 but was postponed because of the coronavirus. Speaking about the same, Hayashi said that time was not ripe to set a date for a visit to Japan.
The war of words between China and Japan escalated in April this year as it played out on two fronts. The first was the Senkaku Islands and the second front was the Fukushima nuclear plant and Japan’s decision to release radioactive water from the plant into the Ocean. China, at that time, was seeing this as an opportunity to further its own agenda.