Tokyo’s new governor Yoichi Masuzoe met with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang on Saturday, April 26, in an effort to improve the strained relations between the two countries. Masuzoe conveyed a notable statement of intent – that the Abe administration’s was open to start talks with China to repair the two countries’ fragile relations.
With the Japanese offer on the table, it still remains unclear if China will accept the overtures of the Japanese government, as there still seems a lot of lingering resentment over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in December last year. According to Masuzoe, Wang gave a “harsh assessment of the Abe administration.” Citing Abe’s visit to the Shinto shrine, Wang said, “A Japanese politician should refrain from undermining cooperative ties between the two nations.” Wang had told him that Japanese leaders needed to speak and act more cautiously. As a response, the governor of the Japanese capital said that he will convey the Chinese official’s remarks word for word to Abe.
The 65-year-old governor is at the end of his official three-day visit to China, a trip that most observers said had a chance of opening a channel of dialogue between the countries. “In my meetings with Chinese leaders, I said that Prime Minister Abe totally supported my visit, and that he hoped Sino-Japan relations could take a turn for the better,” Masuzoe said at a news conference. “If this can even help just a little to dispel some misunderstandings or areas where there is not enough understanding, then this will be the best thing about my visit.”
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