WORLD> China-Japan Relations
Sino-Japanese ties not to be affected after DPJ elected
Updated: 2009-08-31 11:32

TOKYO: The main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) scored an overwhelming victory over the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Sunday in the historic lower house election.

At a time when Japan's political scene is undergoing sweeping changes, experts say that China-Japan relations are not likely to be affected after the DPJ assumes reins of government.

Japan's foreign policy is to undergo a series of adjustments following the DPJ's ascendancy, but Zhu Jianrong, a professor of humanities at Toyo Gakuen University, said that the general trend for bilateral ties will not change.

"As far as economy and trade are concerned, China and Japan are among the closest partners in the world, and they need each other, " said Zhu.

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis which took a heavy toll on the Japanese economy, the 4,000 billion yuan stimulus package offered by the Chinese government has boosted China's domestic demand and expanded its imports. And the move, in turn, benefited Japan, said Zhu.

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"It is acknowledged in Japan's economic circles that the recent pickup in the Japanese economy is due to its exports to China," he said, adding that Japan has realized that it is economically dependent on China and fostering close ties with China is in its interests.

"Knowing that this standpoint dominates the mainstream Japanese society, I believe that the general situation of China-Japan relations will not change," said the professor.

"Basically, bilateral ties hinge on China's development," Zhu noted.

As long as China continues to pursue the policy of reform and opening up and become a steadfast force for safeguarding regional peace and stability as well as that of the world, bilateral ties will continuously move forward, he said.

Zhu's remarks were echoed by Takashi Sekiyama, a research fellow of the government-related think tank the Tokyo Foundation, who believes that Japan-China relations will remain stable following the DPJ's victory in the Sunday's general election.

"On historical issues, few DPJ lawmakers take a conservative stance," said Sekiyama in an interview with Xinhua.

"DPJ President Yukio Hatoyama himself has made it clear that if he takes the premiership, he will not visit the war-related Yasukuni Shrine and demand cabinet ministers show self-discipline concerning the issue," he said.

"And in its manifesto, the DPJ pledges to construct reliable relations with Asian countries, including China and South Korea in particular," he added.

"From the perspective of Japan, Japan-China relations, characterized by their interdependence, are of great strategic importance," Sekiyama said.

Even if "seiken kotai" (political change) occurs, Japan's policy towards China will not change drastically, he said.

Duan Yuezhong, editor-in-chief of a Chinese newspaper in Japan, was of one mind.

"Whether the LDP or the DPJ at the helm, the trend for China- Japan relations will mostly remain the same," said Duan.

"In light of the rapid economic growth China has achieved since it adopted the policy of reform and opening up, whatever country will attach great importance to its relations with China. And this is indubitable," he said.

"On historical issues, Hatoyama has indicated that he will not visit the Yasukuni Shrine and expressed his intention to build a secular national memorial for Japan's war dead. If it comes true, that will be a great breakthrough," he said.