Days after Chinese authorities seized a Japanese vessel in Shanghai over wartime reparation dues, the government of Japan has described the move as threatening and said this has further compromised the basis of their current diplomatic ties. Japan is referring to the 1972 joint communiqué, in which China “renounced its demand for war reparation from Japan,” which finalized the normalization of ties between the two countries.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga addressed the issue and described it as undermining the treaty. “It could also intimidate Japanese companies doing business in China as a whole and hence Japan is deeply worried and strongly expects China to take appropriate measures,” he said. He noted that such actions would not help in promoting normal ties between the two nations, who are already engaged in a bitter territorial and historical dispute, and may affect even the economic relations which are still being enjoyed by both countries.
China, on the other hand, denied the allegations that the vessels were seized based on war-debt issues. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang affirmed the 1972 joint communiqué and assured the public that the government is upholding it. Instead, he described the issue as just “a common commercial contract dispute.” In response to Suga’s concerns that Japanese investors may feel threatened in putting up businesses in the country, Qin said, “China will continue to protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign-invested companies in China in accordance with the law.” This incident marks the first time a wartime lawsuit filed by Chinese private citizens has been allegedly enacted upon a Japanese company asset.
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