"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Prime Minister Hashimoto's Speech in Beijing: "Japan-China Relations in the New Age: New Developments in Dialogue and Cooperation"

[Date] September 5, 1997
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Opening remarks

Chancellor Li Guixian, ladies and gentlemen,

It is September, and Beijing is once again enjoying a beautiful autumn. It was another bounteous autumn, a September twenty-five years ago, in which the great work of normalizing Japan-China relations was completed. It is indeed a great honor and pleasure to be able to visit China during this commemorative year, and to be able to stand here at the National School of Administration to express my thoughts on Japan-China relations in front of so many of you who represent people from different walks of life and future leaders of the Chinese Government. The last twenty-five years since the normalization have brought forth the fruit of goodwill and friendship between our peoples. The future cultivation of our relationship based upon this fruit- the task of increasing the harvest further still-will be on the shoulders of the young people who are gathered here today. In that sense as well, it is an extremely valuable opportunity for me to be able to address you here today, and I wish to thank all those who made this possible.

Our relationship with China is so important to us in Japan that how to develop it has been a subject of my constant consideration personally. Since my first visit to China in 1979, I have been back often, as a politician and as a minister of state, because of my desire to address this question. In 1991 while I was serving as Minister of Finance, the leading Western countries were refraining from Cabinet-level visits, but I became the first minister of state to pay an official visit to China because of my belief in the importance of China to the international community and the importance of Japan-China relations.

Peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region

Ladies and gentlemen,

On August 28, I gave a speech in Tokyo called "Seeking a New Foreign Policy toward China." In that speech I noted that countries concerned had made enormous efforts since the end of the Cold War towards the creation of a new international order. I then went on to discuss four perspectives for stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region: awareness of the diversity ofAsia, more opportunities for dialogue, extension of dialogue into concrete cooperation, and formation of a common order.

As the work moves steadily forward on the erection of a new international order, the Asia- Pacific region in which we find ourselves has experienced a rapid economic development as the world's growth center, with intensified interdependence between countries within the region. At the same time, APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) have helped to develop the dialogue between us. I welcome this trend and wish to emphasize that for development to continue, peace is of the utmost importance, and that development itself will serve to strengthen peace. Japan has certainly been one of the greatest beneficiaries of the interdependence between peace and development that we have seen so far. Our development was the result of rigorous self-remorse on our past, self-remorse that led us, in the postwar era, to completely abandon the path of becoming a military power and seek to be a pacifist state. There is a clear consensus among the people of Japan that our further development is founded on our endeavors to ensure a peaceful international environment and promote the development of the region and of the world.

The reforms and changes taking place in China

Ladies and gentlemen,

What I would like to emphasize to you is that these global and regional trends are not the "givens" of the international situation that Japan and China must conform to, but rather that our two countries are actors that greatly influence these trends.

One of the most prominent changes in the international community of the post-Cold-War era is that rapid economic development has given China a larger role to play. Indeed, China is now taking a constructive and active part in the resolution of international issues. With a population of 1.2 billion, China has always been an important member of the international community, and its rapid economic development has had a far greater impact on the peace, stability, and development of this region than perhaps you suspect. I mentioned APEC, ARF, and the other fora for regional dialogue a moment ago, and I would like to note that China's participation has added much to their significance.

When discussing China's remarkable economic development and its active participation in the international community, I am impressed by the greatness of the late Deng Xiaoping, who boldly conceived and then carried out the open and reform policy. This open and reform policy is now being spearheaded by President Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders. It was particularly gratifying to witness the peaceful return of Hong Kong, a significant undertaking realized by the wisdom of "one country, two systems" in which the hand of Mr. Deng could still be seen.

We in Japan are also moving forward with reforms. These reforms cover our fiscal and financial system, education system, and also our government administration itself. It is no easy task to reform systems that were built in the decades following the war, but I believe these reforms are indispensable and am doing everything in my power to move them forward. We need to create a competitive, vigorous society in the twenty-first century, and I do believe Japan has no future if we avoid the pain that will be involved in the reforms. I understand that China is also in the process of reforming its systems and institutions. Fundamental reforms in a country with this widespread land and large population will be far more difficult than in Japan, but as your neighbor, let me express to you my respect for your willingness to overcome the challenges and press forward in the development of China in the next century, and also my best wishes for your success.

Assessment of the twenty-five years since normalization of relations

Ladies and gentlemen,

Before I discuss the outlook for Japan-China relations in the future, I would like to briefly review with you the relations between our countries since normalization.

Twenty-five years ago, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka became the first postwar Japanese head of government to visit Beijing. On September 29, he and Premier Zhou Enlai signed the Japan-China Joint Communiqué that achieved the normalization of our relations. Today, the importance of friendly relations between Japan and China is taken for granted as something incredibly obvious. But at the time, normalization was only possible because of the extraordinary efforts, the long and arduous process that led to the Joint Communiqué upon which our relationship is founded and outstanding determination of our predecessors. "Always remember theaspirations you had in the beginning." We must not forget the emotion and enthusiasm of the people in both countries that greeted normalization.

The past twenty-five years has proved to our people the important truth that though our systems differ, it is possible to overcome the differences and enjoy friendly interaction that will be to the benefit of both countries. Following the normalization, we signed in 1978 the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and in 1992, the Emperor and Empress of Japan visited China for the very first time in our history. These events gave our relations an even firmer footing.

The development of Japan-China relations over the past twenty-five years has been among the most remarkable achievements in history. Our two-way trade has increased dramatically. Today, China is Japan's second largest trading partner, and Japan is China's largest. Cumulative Japanese investment in China has far surpassed the $10 billion level. Today, some 1.28 million people travel between our countries each year, a 150-fold increase from prior to normalization.

Economic cooperation between Japan and China has also made steady progress to support the open and reform policy of China, and it has made great contributions to the expansion of our relationship. Yesterday we signed and exchanged notes on this fiscal year's yen loan, which is now in excess of 2 trillion yen in total. This illustrates how close and friendly the cooperative relationship that we enjoy is.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We must not forget the Joint Communiqué and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship that are the basic documents underlying the great development in Japan-China relations. We in Japan seek to develop our relationship with China further, to a broader and matured one adhering to these basic documents-the Joint Communiqué and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship-and responding to changing times.

Dialogue and cooperation for a new age

Ladies and gentlemen,

I believe that Japan and China must work together as constructive partners in the Asia- Pacific region to tackle the many international challenges that we face. President Jiang Zemin often exhorts people to "climb high and gaze far," words that emphasize the need for strategic perspective. Should we not, from exactly the same vantage point, work together in dealing with the problems that beset our region and our globe?

During my speech in Tokyo the other day, I spoke of the need for greater mutual understanding and enhanced dialogue in the relationship between Japan and China. I would like to take the opportunity here at this time to elaborate on my ideas on strengthening dialogue and cooperation between us. The dialogue of which I speak is a dialogue aimed at enhancing our mutual understanding and trust; the cooperation aimed at cementing a relationship that is of mutual benefit and discharging mutual responsibilities. In view of the four topics that our countries share,I would like to suggest to you the importance of dialogue and cooperation to our countries.

The first is "dialogue and cooperation between neighboring countries in close geographical proximity." Japan and China truly are right next door to each other. People have travelled between our countries since ancient times, when Japanese envoys were dispatched during the Sui and Tang dynasties, or even earlier. As neighbors, therefore, we need to bring new enhancements to our dialogue toward the new age in which we find ourselves. Yesterday, Premier Li Peng and I agreed in our meeting that leaders of either country would visit the other country at least once a year. We will shortly be honored by a visit from Premier Li himself and next year we will welcome President Jiang Zemin. In the future, I would hope that we will not limit ourselves just to official visits but will be able to sit down together more often in a less formal setting to discuss the challenges before us. Doing so would smooth out our communication and enable us to build firm trust between the leaders. As neighbors, we should keep our close dialogue by any means, regardless of what situation we are in.

To foster a relationship of trust among our people, it must not be only the government and business leaders that travel between our countries. We must expand exchanges and interaction between our politicians and also our youth at all levels. Dr. Sun Yat-sen spent one-third of his 30 year political career in Japan, where many Japanese helped supporting for his political activities. The warm interaction between Dr. Lu Xun and Dr. Fujino, who taught him medicine at Tohoku University in Sendai, also comes to mind. And there is no end to what we have learned from China throughout the exchanges and interaction with you.

Building a relationship asks steady, day-to-day efforts that, as they build up, will assist us in creating a relationship of genuine trust. We were recently informed of the passing of Chairman Sun Pinghua, a man who worked day in and day out behind the scenes on the normalization process and the subsequent development of Japan-China relations. It is often said that "you can't become good friends until you've had a quarrel," and there were times when I too came close to getting in quarrel with Chairman Sun. Today I look back fondly on our discussions and the passion that went into them. When you are neighbors and your relationship runs deep, there is a tendency for troubles to arise. To prevent trouble, or rather to resolve trouble appropriately whenthey occur, we must be engaged in continuous dialogue and be able to tell each other frankly what we are thinking. It is particularly important that we show full understanding and respect to the position and the feelings of the other side as we have different systems and an unfortunate past to be overcome. By like token, I also think that accumulated exchange and enhanced contact will enable dialogue with more frankness and candor. In this regard, I would like to underscore, especially for the younger people who are here today, the importance to seek true mutual understanding, accepting even what you might not want to bear.

In the process leading to the normalization, Dr. Liao Chengzhi and Dr. Sun Pinghua, guided by Premier Zhou Enlai, made great efforts on the Chinese side. And on the Japanese side, a number of people including Mr. Kenzo Matsumura and Mr. Tatsunosuke Takasaki put their utmost efforts to bridge the two countries. I would hope that in this audience today there is a new Liao Chengzhi and a new Sun Pinghua. I would do my best to encourage those young people so that they understand the importance of Japan-China relationship and sustain it in the future.

Secondly, to promote "dialogue and cooperation between countries with deep historical ties." is important in Japan-China relationship. Although Japan and China have enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations in almost all ages in their history, it is also a fact that we have been through an unfortunate period in the past. Two years ago, the Government of Japan addressed itsrecognition on the recent past in a statement by the Prime Minister. I too, as a member of the cabinet, took part in that process. Standing on the deep remorse expressed then, Japan wishes to face the past squarely, deepen our historical recognition, and move forward with the dialogue and cooperation that will open for both countries a new future. As the first postwar Japanese Prime Minister to visit the northeastern area of China, I will view situations in this region. And in Shenyang, I will visit the September 18th Incident Museum. This visit was inspired by my personal desire to face our history directly, and to bear the fruits in friendship and cooperation for the future.

The Government of Japan, in cooperation with the Government of China, is making efforts to deal with the disposal of the chemical weapons abondoned by the old Japanese army. Here too we try to deal in good faith with an issue from the past. Certainly, history has left a deep wound in our hearts, but it is also true that Japan and China have enjoyed two thousand years of friendly relations. While accounting for the past, we must also build a cooperative relationship for the future.

Third is "dialogue and cooperation between countries with common cultural aspects." Our long history of interaction has given Japan and China many common aspects, and many Japanese,myself included, have strong feelings of respect for Chinese culture. Dunhuang and other historical sites from the Silk Road, the scenes from the Three Gorges, where the story of the ThreeKingdoms took place, the cultural legacies of the coast. These cultural artifacts are important froman international standpoint, but they have a special resonance for the Japanese. That is why, as an expression of our feelings, we have been active in providing support and cooperation for Chinese cultural preservation projects, including the preservation center in Dunhuang and the restoration of the Daming Palace, Hanyuan Hall. Obviously, Chinese cultural artifacts belong to the Chinese people, but they are so valuable that the entire world has an interest in them, and we in Japan would like to continue to provide cooperation for their preservation. For example, we would like to provide as much as we can to cooperate with the preservation of any ruins that might be affected by the Three Gorges Dam construction.

I also think that we need to put more emphasis on cultural exchanges between our countries. There is so much that the Japanese and Chinese have in common culturally that we often make the mistake of thinking that it will be easy to understand each other. The fact is that we also have our own individual cultures and customs and in many cases we end up with mutual misunderstandings because of them. In that sense as well, I think that we must continue to be aware of and make conscious efforts for repeated and enhanced cultural interaction.

When one talks of cultural exchange there is a tendency to think only in terms of traditional cultures, but I think we should also develop exchanges in more contemporary forms of culture like film, drama, music, and painting. Chinese films and music have recently become popular in Japan. We would further cultural exchange by making institutional improvements to overcome thelanguage barriers and ensure smooth activities across borders.

The fourth form of dialogue and cooperation I would like to discuss is "dialogue and cooperation between countries with responsibilities to their region and to the world."

In particular, promoting dialogue on security issues will help to build confidence between our countries and will also contribute directly to the stability of the region as a whole. We already have an annual dialogue on security among diplomats and defense professionals from both countries, and our authorities make an effort to discuss such issues as they arise. But our dialogue in the area of security is not nearly as well developed as other aspects of our relationship and our economic ties, and there is a particular need to enhance the interaction among people directly involved in our defense and military affairs so as to foster mutual trust.

In conjunction with the recent announcement of the Interim Report on the review of the "Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation," we sent personnel who were directly involved in that review to China to give briefings. This was exactly done from a recognition of the importance of ensuring transparency in holding dialogue in areas of defense and security policy. We are well aware that China is showing a strong interest in this review of the "Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation." I would like to take this opportunity to underscore that the review of the Guidelines is conducted for the purpose of providing a general framework on ways for defense cooperation between Japan and the United States. The review of the Guidelines and programs under the new Guidelines will be conducted within the limitations of our Constitution and in accordance with such basic positions as the maintenance of the exclusively defense-orientedpolicy and our three non-nuclear principles. In reviewing the Guidelines, Japan and the United States have not addressed situations in a specific country or region, including China. Both Japan and the United States wish to build a constructive relationship with China in securing the stability and prosperity of this region, a point that was made clear by President Clinton and myself in the Japan-US Joint Declaration on Security issued last year. Japan believes that China is seeking a peaceful solution to the Taiwan questions. Nor does Japan, under the current circumstances envision the possibility that armed conflict will ensue in the area around Taiwan. Japan's policy of adhering to the Joint Communiqué and the Treaty of Peace and Friendship will remain unchanged. Let me state clearly that under these policies, Japan has no intention of supporting "two Chinas" or Taiwan's independence. Japan sincerely hopes that the Taiwan questions will be solved peacefully through dialogue between the parties on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

I would next like to turn to international politics. The international community is currently attempting to build a system to ensure stability in the post-Cold-War world, and attempts to meet this goal are being seen at many different levels. One example is the active debate on reforming the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. administration and finances. Another example is the progress of regional dialogue under APEC and the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference. Having a permanent seat on the Security Council, China bears a particularly weighty obligation to maintain peace and security in the international community. Japan has also actively participated in U.N. reform, and I believe that it will be significant to both countries and to the world if Japan and China are to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation in these areas. While we must obviously respect the efforts of those involved to solve conflicts, I think there is still room for further Japan-China cooperation in the problems that beset the Asia-Pacific region, for instance, on the Korean Peninsula. I am confident that Japan and China are expected to play leading roles-roles that involve toil and sweat-in securing the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

As China takes on a larger role in international economies, dialogue and cooperation in this area is becoming more important as well. One example is the cooperation between our countries in responding to the recent Thai currency crisis. China has emerged as one of the world's great trading states, and indeed is ranked tenth in terms of volume. There are obvious limits to what can be done to strengthen world trade rules without Chinese participation. It is vital for China's own economic development that it participates in common rules of the international economy, and China's participation is something that the international community ardently wishes for as well. That is why I personally have been extremely interested and involved in facilitating China's early accession to the WTO. Japan and China recently reached an agreement, in principle, in the negotiation on trade in goods, among that in goods and services, which is desireable for the relations of our two countries. I look forward to working in close cooperation with you to accelerate this process.

I would also like to say a word on the role that Japan-China cooperation has to play in the effort to deal with global issues like the environment, energy, and food.

Environmental issues are something that can only be tackled by the international community as a whole, and the roles that large countries like China have to play are indeed great.The upcoming "Third Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change" (COP3) in Kyoto in December will provide an opportunity to take a step forward towards an eventual solution to the problem of global warming; it is an event that must be successful at all costs. In this regard, I think that we will need to further the dialogue between Japan and China. The air and other pollution caused by Chinese economic development are China's own problem, but yet they are also issues in which the entire world is concerned because of effects like acid rain. In light of the seriousness of the problems that we face, Premier Li Peng and I have agreed to a new program called the "Japan-China Joint Initiative on Environment toward the twenty-first century" that will seek to bring new perspectives to Japan-China environmental cooperation. This program will have two main pillars. The first pillar will be collecting environmental data throughout China, integrating and analyzing them to contribute to the prevention of pollution. The second pillar will be designating model cities. In model cities agreed upon by Japan and China, the Chinese side will strengthen regulations and law enforcement, and the Japanese side will provide financial aid and technical support with the intention to build recyling-oriented industrial and social systems. We hope these joint efforts bear fruitful results, followed by other cities, and help improve Chinese environmental situation.

Energy and food are also issues in which Chinese trends are of great interest to the world. In both cases, it is inevitable that China grow into a giant consumer and one of the important challenges before the entire world is how to provide for both consumption and supply. We would like to cooperate in many areas related to energy conservation technologies, the development of resources, the use of nuclear power, techniques for yielding larger harvests, and agricultural development.

There are areas in which Japan and China ought to be able to cooperate not just on issues facing China itself but on issues facing other developing countries as well. For example, many developing countries still need cooperation in the area of health care. Japan and China have a long track record in successful health care cooperation, and I think it would be worth considering at some point in the future new forms of cooperation such as accepting trainees from third countries into these programs. Many developing countries also suffer from population problems, which are also an important issue for China itself. Indeed, China has much experience and expertise in dealing with this problem and we should promote dialogue with Chinese experts on what kinds of policies work, and on how to solve the global population question.

Last year I proposed the "Initiative for a Caring World" and this year at the Denver Summit I brought up the issues both of aging populations and of the need to deal with infectious diseases, including those borne by parasites. These issues are to be continuously considered at the next Summit. As we move forward with these concepts, I would like to enlist the wisdom, experience, and cooperation of China.

I have described the importance of "dialogue and cooperation" between Japan and China from four perspectives. They are dialogue and cooperation between the two countries that shares boundaries, history, culture and responsibilities. We must work together to deepen our relations and carry out discussions for the development of the region and the world.

I sincerely hope that the young people here, with Japanese young generations, build a new Japan-China relations in the new era.

Closing remarks: The achievements of this visit

Ladies and gentlemen,

Twelve hundred years ago, Abe-no-Nakamaro travelled to China in the Tang dynasty. Whenit came time to return to Japan, Wang Wei, who was later known as the "God of Poetry," mourned his departure in a poem:

"There is no crossing the great ocean.

How can we know a country like yours, far east of the eastern sea?"

In the end, Nakamaro was never to return to Japan. The wind and the waves barred his passage. Today, he rests in Xi-an. He and Jianzhen who rests in Japan are examples of people who have had the determination to travel between our countries seeking friendship and truth. Today, our capitals are only three hours apart by plane. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the path lies open for us to transcend our own times in the development of friendship and amity between Japan and China.

I hope that my visit to China at this time will become a milestone in the building of Japan- China relations. It is my great desire to see the people of our countries join hands at the dawn of the twenty-first century to build another quarter-century of dialogue and cooperation.