World / China-Japan Relations

Experts: new Japanese envoy may have a different approach

By Zhang Yunbi in Beijing and Cai Hong in Tokyo ( Updated: 2016-05-14 18:51

Chinese scholars expect Japan's new ambassador to China Yutaka Yokoi, who reportedly will arrive in Beijing on Sunday, to have a different approach to the issues the two countries have.

Yang Bojiang, deputy director of the Institute of Japan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, hoped that Yokoi, one of the senior "China hands" in Japan's foreign ministry, would play a vital part in improving communication and promoting understanding between the two countries.

"But more, instead of fewer, sources of disputes between them are expected. Japan may interfere deeply in the South China Sea issue thanks to the implementation of its security legislation," Yang said.

Liu Jiangyong, deputy dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, anticipated that Yokoi will take the advantage of its past experience and connection in China and be more active.

"The most difficult issue for the two countries is the Diaoyu Islands issue. The two (countries) need to have in-depth negotiation on this topic," Liu said. "If we (Chinese and Japanese diplomats) speak the same language and compare notes on the sovereignty of the islands on the basis of friendship, they (Japan) will help their governments make policies that move with the times."

At a farewell ceremony joined by Yokoi's predecessor Masato Kitera and China's Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua in Tokyo on Friday, Yokoi said he feels honored and holds a great deal of responsibility to go to China at a time when whether the two countries can continue to improve their relations is under strain.

He said the economic ties have changed greatly as China grows. With Japan being outstanding in technology and China as a very promising market with a population of 1.3 billion, it is imperative for them to build the relations in a new age. He highlighted building trust within the people of the two countries as an urgent issue.

The Chinese ambassador said though they have many issues and their opinions are divided, dialogues can promote understandings and enhance mutual trust.

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